Build Back Better framework – breakdown of potential federal broadband funding

Next TV reports

While most of the new federal money for broadband — some $65 billion — is in the infrastructure bill whose fate is tied to President Joe Biden‘s $1.7 trillion-plus Build Back Better legislative package, that package also has more than $1 billion dollars for various better broadband building programs. …

According to a draft copy of the compromise Build Back Better framework the president unveiled Thursday (Oct. 28), it includes:

  • $475 million for grants (plus another $20 million in administrative expenses and another $5 million on outreach) to fund the distribution of WiFi-enabled connected devices (desktops, laptops, tablets and phones) that will allow all those potential broadband subs, including in low income and diverse communities, to access the broadband that is being subsidized. The device money includes for both new and refurbished devices with a maximum of one household of two people or fewer and two devices for households with three or more.

  • $300 million more for the FCC’s emergency connectivity fund for distant learning, though not for any equipment the agency has determined is a threat to national security, so none for tech from Chinese firms Huawei or ZTE.

  • $250 million for grants to public-private partnerships for pilot projects to find long-term solutions to boosting access to affordable broadband in urban areas. The government has been primarily focused on closing the rural digital divide, but has increasingly added urban communities and their affordability issues to its plate.

  • $100 million for outreach and education “regarding the broadband and communications affordability programs of the Federal Communications Commission.

  • $7 million to stand up a 14-member Future of Telecommunications Council to advise Congress on “the development and adoption of 6G and other advanced wireless communications technologies, including 14 ensuring equity in access to those technologies for communities of color and rural communities.”

  • $5 million to create the Affordable Urban and Suburban Broadband Advisory Committee, which as its name suggests, would advise the administration — specifically the FCC and National Telecommunications & Information Administration — on making broadband more affordable to both urban and suburban broadband subscribers.

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About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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