H.R.3684 – the House Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – includes a $65B kicker for broadband networks in its trillion-dollar appropriation package. This funding will extend broadband to unserved areas using a formula based in the ratio of unserved areas in the various states.
Funding is in the form of grants to states to be administered according to specified guidelines. The definition of broadband in the bill – 25 mbps down, 3 up, and reasonable latency – is conservative but realistic.
The bill is not bad, but it could have been worse. Today’s podcast, recorded in July, is a reminder of the progress made in the debate. Initial plans floated by some members of Congress focused on ultra-high-speed symmetrical plans that would have taken the better part of a decade to build.
The current package recognizes that some broadband installed today is better than a futuristic system that may never be installed. Economist Will Rinehart, an expert on the economics of bridging the digital divide, is the special guest. If you’re interested in broadband, competition, digital inclusion, and how public policy moves from idea to appropriation this is for you.