The 'full fiber' versus 'tech neutral' debate heats up in the US

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The US federal government's $65 billion broadband program is the country's single-largest commitment to achieving universal Internet access nationwide, and a funding deluge that people across the industry never expect to see again. With that in mind, technology and policy stakeholders are eager to get it right. "We will never be in a position to have this much funding available to get fiber to every American," said Gary Bolton, president of the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA). Bolton has further discussed FBA's plans to take their advocacy for a full-fiber future to the states as they begin drawing up their broadband plans. The idea of fiber as the only technology suitable for closing the digital divide is a contentious one on Capitol Hill, where lobbyists from the cable, wireless and satellite industries have successfully pressured DC lawmakers to keep the infrastructure legislation "tech neutral." Some broadband policy advocates have weighed in supportively as well. Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and director of the Center for Technology Policy, says that the US should not spend all of its broadband funding on fiber. "Building broadband is expensive," said Turner Lee. "It's going to require a mix of private equity, private sector partnerships, government support, as well as nonprofits and cooperatives to come to the table together to figure out what solution works best for the communities that they serve."

The 'full fiber' vs. 'tech neutral' debate heats up in US