Across America, 5G mobile networks are going up, which eventually will supplant the internet backbone we use for nearly all communications. With minor changes, the Pentagon’s ongoing 5G demonstrations, 2020's appropriations to replace Chinese network equipment, and the proposed Infrastructure and Jobs Act could combine to spur deployment of open 5G architectures that would create a market for US telecommunications equipment builders and installers.
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: