Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill that will, among other things, provide $65 billion in broadband-related funding to help get people online in the United States.
The legislation does the following:
- Allocates approximately $42 billion for high-speed broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas;
- Provides roughly $14 billion for a $30-per-month Affordable Connectivity Program to help ensure low-income communities can afford broadband access (to replace the $50-per-month Emergency Broadband Benefit program when funding runs out);
- Requires broadband providers to adopt a broadband nutrition label, which will standardize advertising of broadband plans to allow people to better compare the different options available to them.
“Internet access is essential for people to exercise their human rights,” said Willmary Escoto, U.S. Policy Analyst at Access Now. “This infrastructure package is a huge win for the people of the United States, especially those earning low-incomes who struggle to get online. While we hoped the total investment would have been closer to President Biden’s initial proposal of $100 billion, this package is a critical step toward connecting everyone to high-speed internet and we commend the Biden administration and the Senate for their efforts.”