Biden unveils $42 billion broadband internet plan

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to spend $42 billion to bring high-speed broadband to every U.S. household over the next seven years.

Speaking at the White House on Monday, Biden said his administration is making a “historic investment to connect everyone in America to affordable high-speed internet by 2030.”

The funding has been made possible by the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program as part of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that came into force two years ago.

Speaking at the same event on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris said: “Let us agree in the 21st century America, high-speed internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

The plan will see each state given at least $107 million to fund the project, with 19 states receiving more than $1 billion. Texas will receive the greatest amount of funding at $3.3 billion, followed by California with $1.9 billion, Missouri ($1.7 billion), and Michigan ($1.6 billion).

CNBC noted that more than 7% of the U.S. — that’s more than 8.5 million homes and small businesses — lacks high-speed internet access, defined by the government as below 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.

As a mark of the scale of the ambitious plan, White House officials compared the broadband project to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s effort to bring electricity to rural America in the 1930s.

Commenting on the rollout, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said: “Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber optic cable in America, or creating good-paying jobs building internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come.”

In a tweet on Monday, the White House described the initiative as “the biggest investment in high-speed internet. Ever.” Now it’s a case of waiting to see if it delivers.

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