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Joe Biden has confirmed a new plan to provide internet access to Americans. Learn about Biden's $100 billion plan here.

Biden’s $100 Billion Plan to Improve Internet Access for Americans

Americans have been facing many issues with their broadband networks for quite some time now. Service, price, and speed just do not work well for its consumers. In comparison, broadband services in the United States cost more than other wealthy countries — yet, why are there millions of Americans who are not connected to any broadband network?

The Biden Administration has been pledging to solve these issues since the beginning of their campaign. They recently released their $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan to the public, including a $100 billion budget for broadband expansion and infrastructure. Indeed, their project is promising, but it still lacks essential details to make it viable.

How does this affect internet service providers?

Once the plan is successfully implemented, minor and major internet service providers might get hit hard. It was even frankly mentioned that Americans are paying too much money for internet services. It means that the plan is pushing for lower internet costs, which most internet service providers disagree with — even though USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter mentioned that broadband prices are dropping already.

Along with the price decrease, their plan would also promote price transparency for everyone, which is bad news for internet providers who love to impose hidden fees. With the pandemic hitting almost every sector and leaving more people jobless, expensive internet fees are unacceptable where it should be a basic right.

The infrastructure plan will prioritize supporting broadband networks owned and operated by the local government even affiliated providers, non-profits, and co-operatives who commit to serving their respective communities. It will also try to impose healthy competition between municipal-owned providers and private internet service providers.

One of the most prominent parts of the trillion-dollar infrastructure plan is how the Biden administration redefines the digital divide. The sole act of recognizing the lack of support for families that cannot afford a broadband service and the lack of service in most rural areas is an excellent statement.

The Congress and the broadband plan

The broadband plan received mixed responses from the people. The $2.3 trillion funds were not enough for some Democrats, while Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel thinks of it as a tax hikes’ Trojan horse. Even Senate Commerce committees and Republican House leaders find President Biden’s approach regarding the broadband expansion wasteful.

Biden’s plan might also damage their network’s private investment without fixing the digital divide, said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. At the same time, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississipi raises concern for overbuilding and duplication. Both Republican members have raised significant concerns, yet these are only some of the opposing arguments they fight for. On the other hand, Congressional Democrats who have established their major broadband legislation agree with the White House’s approach.

Is the broadband plan essential?

Have you ever felt the frustration when the site you are visiting takes forever to load or when your device cannot connect to the internet? How do you think the people who experience slow to no connection every single day? The COVID-19 pandemic has forced every sector to rely on the internet. An estimated 30 million Americans do not have access to a reliable internet connection, while millions more cannot afford internet services.

Sadly, both rural and urban areas are experiencing it — and even though the federal government already spent billions of dollars, the digital divide is still massive. Even ex-FCC official Gigi Sohn admitted that the rural internet policy in the United States is an ongoing mistake, as what they have right now is very slow. Now, the White House aims to build a “future-proof” network to avoid rebuilding out-of-date infrastructures.

Clarifications are yet to be made regarding the broadband plan. Yet, many Republicans oppose the broadband plan as they refuse to use federal funds for areas with slow internet connections.

A fresh vision for the United States is emerging as the new administration is taking matters into their own hands instead of leaving everything to private sectors. However, it would not be easy. Achieving a “future-proof” broadband network entire the United States is ideal, but is it possible within their term? With Republican’s strong opposition, it is not entirely impossible, but it will surely be challenging.

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