This week, Senate Democrats pushed their proposal for a $40 billion investment of federal funds in rural broadband deployment projects. Democrats call for a “Roosevelt Plan” that will bring internet to every American in the United States, including rural areas that are less profitable for the private sector.
The $40 billion investment will be allocated using the following principles:
- Provide Direct Federal Support for a Universal Internet Grant Program to Close the ‘Last Mile’ Gap.
- Focus on those areas that need adequate, affordable high-speed internet the most.
- Upgrade existing infrastructure where reasonable.
- Leverage competition to make sure federal resources are used most efficiently.
- Use Tax-Payer Resources Responsibly.
- Tackle the Tribal Broadband Gap.
- Create Accurate Maps of Areas that Lack Adequate Internet Access.
- Deliver Internet Speeds Needed to Compete in the 21st Century.
- Upgrade the Nation’s Critical Safety Infrastructure.
The Democrats’ proposal matches Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that estimate it will cost $40 billion to bring broadband to 98 percent of the country. This approach would not only invest directly in broadband deployment projects, but will include investments in broadband mapping data to help providers pinpoint the most underserved areas. This large sum of dedicated funding for broadband deployment will appeal to public and private stakeholders who were disappointed by the broadband provisions in the President’s infrastructure proposal.