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Biden to ensure that every American has access to high-speed internet by 2030

President Joe Biden made a commitment on Monday to ensure that every American household has access to high-speed internet by 2030. He emphasized that high-speed internet has transitioned from being a luxury to an absolute necessity. To achieve this goal, the president announced the allocation of over $40 billion nationwide, focusing on areas without any service or where the existing service is inadequate.

Biden to ensure faster internet for all Americans

President Biden stressed that mere access to the internet is insufficient; affordability is equally important. His administration is actively collaborating with service providers to reduce costs and make high-speed internet more accessible to all, considering it a household utility akin to water or gas. The announcement marked the commencement of the second phase of the "Investing in America" tour, a three-week initiative aimed at promoting the president's accomplishments in infrastructure, the economy, and climate change. The intention behind the tour is to increase public awareness of Biden's policies leading up to his re-election campaign in 2024. One of the challenges faced by President Biden is the time it takes for investments in computer chips and major infrastructure projects to materialize, often spanning a decade. Consequently, much of the messaging revolves around grants that will be utilized over time rather than immediate completed projects. The funding for internet access varies based on the number of unserved locations or areas lacking internet download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of 3 Mbps. The funding distribution includes more than $1 billion for 19 states, with the remaining states receiving amounts below that threshold. The allotments range from $100.7 million for Washington, D.C., to $3.3 billion for Texas. President Biden revealed that over 35,000 projects are already funded or underway to establish internet access through cable infrastructure. Some of these initiatives were initiated using the initial $25 billion funding from the "American Rescue Plan." Highlighting the significance of high-speed internet, President Biden emphasized that it has evolved into an absolute necessity rather than a luxury. According to the Federal Communications Commission's analysis, more than 7% of the country falls into the under-served category. Senator Joe Manchin, recognized as a "friend" by President Biden during the announcement, expressed his appreciation for the $1.2 billion allocated to West Virginia. This funding aims to expand internet service in the rural and mountainous state, benefiting approximately 1.8 million residents. Following the announcement, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo joined Senator Manchin at a press conference, assuring that West Virginia's allocation would be sufficient to connect every resident, even those residing in challenging rural or mountainous areas. Raimondo explained that the expense of laying fiber in such regions made it economically unviable for internet providers in the past. However, with the $1.2 billion funding, they now have the means to extend internet access to the entire population. The infrastructure bill signed by President Biden in 2021 included the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, along with other initiatives aimed at expanding internet coverage. The Commerce Department recently announced the recipients of middle mile grants, which fund projects that contribute to the core infrastructure required to extend internet access across the nation. States have until the end of the year to submit proposals detailing how they plan to utilize the grants. The distribution of funds will commence once the Commerce Department approves these plans. Subsequently, states can award grants to telecommunications companies, electric cooperatives, and other providers to expand internet infrastructure. The program's regulations dictate that states prioritize connecting unserved areas before enhancing service in under-served areas. Additionally, priority is given to connecting schools, libraries, and other community institutions. There has been some controversy surrounding the reliance on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data for such a significant investment. Congress members have raised concerns about inaccuracies that could negatively affect the allotments for rural states, while state broadband officials have expressed worry about the short timeline to rectify discrepancies in the initial map. The second version of the map, released in May, incorporates updated data from internet service providers and the results of over 3 million public challenges, addressing some of the concerns previously raised about the FCC's mapping process, which FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has previously criticized.


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