Upcoming policy issue
The wireless industry is beginning to wind down 2G and 3G networks in an effort to repurpose that spectrum for ultra-fast 5G. But lawmakers and public interest groups are increasingly concerned that shutting down those old networks could leave millions of people who still rely on them without service, particularly in rural areas. And there’s new pressure for the Federal Communications Commission to intervene.
Vice President Harris will lead the Biden administration's unprecedented effort to ensure every American has access to affordable, high-speed Internet. President Biden announced the Vice President would take the lead on the issue during his first address to a slimmed-down joint session of Congress, where he touted his proposal to create new jobs through investment in expanding Internet access.
The debate about plans for the 12 GHz spectrum band is not just about billionaire versus billionaire, said Harold Feld, senior vice president for Public Knowledge which is part part of a new coalition know as 5G for 12 GHz.
President Biden wants local governments to provide broadband internet. Could they compete with Comcast and Verizon?
President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan has renewed debate over whether municipal broadband makes the internet more affordable and accessible. Advocates, including Democrats in Washington, argue that public networks give internet titans like Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. much needed competition. That would drive down prices and create more options. But critics, including Republican lawmakers and the cable industry, say the taxpayer-funded networks are unfair competition, discourage private investment, and are ill-equipped to keep pace with technology.
The Biden administration’s ambitious infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, includes $100 billion in broadband funding, with the goal of connecting every American to high-speed broadband by the end of the decade. But with Senate Republicans set to dramatically cut total investment in their counter-proposal, the future of the package is unclear.
Most Republicans and many Democrats have framed broadband much like Ronald Reagan would: Get government out of the way, remove regulations, and let too-big-to-fail incumbent providers bridge the digital divide. A favorite target is public rights-of-way—every street plus about ten feet of land on each side where utility poles or underground utility lines are located, and where internet service providers attach or bury lines and equipment that transmit internet data.
The European Union unveiled strict regulations to govern the use of artificial intelligence, a first-of-its-kind policy that outlines how companies and governments can use a technology seen as one of the most significant, but ethically fraught, scientific breakthroughs in recent memory. The draft rules would set limits around the use of artificial intelligence in a range of activities, from self-driving cars to hiring decisions, bank lending, school enrollment selections, and the scoring of exams.
In letters to wireless carriers, 13 US senators caution about shutting down legacy services. Researchers estimate that at least 13% of Americans rely on older 2G or 3G technology. In some areas, 2G and 3G services are the only mobile wireless service available, and this is particularly true in rural and secluded areas where 4G and 5G technologies have not yet been deployed. For many customers who live in these areas, a mobile wireless connection is their only tool for staying in touch with friends and family, doing homework, or making a living.
Around the world, governments are moving simultaneously to limit the power of tech companies with an urgency and breadth that no single industry had experienced before. Their motivation varies.
To make the most of technology’s future, the United States again needs a bold infrastructure plan that will create a springboard for new jobs, sustained competitiveness, and broader prosperity. While many details and the need for compromise lie ahead, we believe President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, or AJP, points in the right direction. Broadband has become the electricity of the 21st century, providing the lifeblood for jobs, healthcare, and education. But like electricity in the 1930s, it hasn’t reached tens of millions of people.