Biden plans to connect every American to broadband in new infrastructure package

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Biden plans to connect every American to broadband in new infrastructure package

President Biden plans to announce a sweeping infrastructure plan Wednesday that includes $100 billion to connect every American to high-speed broadband internet over the next eight years.

Biden is scheduled to unveil his $2 trillion “American Jobs Plan” in Pittsburgh later on Wednesday. The long-awaited infrastructure and jobs package contains funding for broadband expansion, semiconductor manufacturing, and slew of other interests like public transportation and helping consumers purchase electric vehicles. On a call with reporters Tuesday, an administration official said that the package would be paid for by changes to the corporate tax rate.

Biden’s $100 billion figure for broadband expansion trumps most other efforts to finish connecting every household in the US to the internet. Earlier this month, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) announced their own bill that would invest $94 billion to close the digital divide. In previous years, the Federal Communications Commission has put together more than $20 billion to reward cooperatives, satellite operators, and other telecoms who launch broadband projects in unserved areas.

Biden’s package also calls for 100 percent broadband coverage by the end of the decade and prioritizes networks affiliated with local governments, nonprofits and cooperatives and promises funding for projects on tribal lands. Biden’s broadband plan also seeks to encourage adoption by reducing the cost of internet service long term.

“While the President recognizes that individual subsidies to cover internet costs may be needed in the short term, he believes continually providing subsidies to cover the cost of overpriced internet service is not the right long-term solution for consumers or taxpayers,” a fact sheet for the package reads.

The package also provides tax incentives and rebates to encourage consumers to purchase electric vehicles along with a plan to electrify the federal fleet, including United States Postal Service trucks. Over $50 billion is set aside for investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing, a particularly vital issue in light of recent shortages. In February, Biden signed an executive order calling for government reviews into the semiconductor supply chain following a massive chip shortage created by the coronavirus pandemic.

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