We are on the cusp of an opportunity to close the remaining digital divide with a once-in-a-generation investment in broadband infrastructure through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which, if passed by the House and signed into law, would devote tens of billions more toward the deployment and affordability of broadband, with the goal of connecting every American. But how do we spend these funds wisely? Policymakers must aim for the best return.
Local governments play a critical and direct role facilitating broadband upgrades and new deployments through their zoning and permitting functions. Recognizing that communities across the country could benefit from additional resources, I introduced H.R. 5058, the Broadband Incentives for Communities Act, to provide grants to hire and train employees, purchase software, and upgrade capabilities to facilitate broadband upgrades and deployment.
The Broadband Internet Connections for Rural America Act is a plan to invest $43.2 billion in the USDA’s Rural Development broadband programs by:
The disruption caused by the pandemic and the resulting boost in innovation are opportunities to build a better future for everyone, to "do it right" this time. With the right policies, governments, the private sector and the international community have the power and the responsibility to shape a new technological era where no one is left behind. They should be guided by the following objectives: