Covid-19 relief bill includes $7 billion in broadband funding


Posts: 658   +11
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In a nutshell: The much awaited Covid-19 relief bill was approved this weekend, and while most people are interested in the $600 per person in direct payments, it's important to note there are some interesting provisions that will put $7 billion towards something that's clearly become a utility during the pandemic: broadband access.

The US government says it will commit a portion of the $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill towards several strategic objectives meant to improve access to broadband, as well as advancing the Clean Network initiative, a 5-part plan to completely remove the presence of Chinese companies from American infrastructure and the Internet.

Axios learned that lawmakers approved $7 billion in funding to make broadband available to everyone who needs to work and study from home, especially low-income Americans whose finances have been significantly affected by the pandemic to the point where paying for Internet access has become a challenge.

The importance of this can't be understated, as the US fell further down the broadband price table this year, with an average fixed-line package price of $50.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer noted in a press statement the new emergency broadband benefit program will "help millions of students, families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic."

That means putting $3.2 billion towards offering qualifying households a $50 monthly subsidy, so that Internet access is guaranteed until the situation improves. The provision bears some similarities to the HEROES Act, and includes $1 billion in funding that will go towards grants for Tribal broadband programs as well as $300 million for broadband infrastructure grants.

Interestingly, $1.9 billion in funding will go towards "rip and replace" efforts for carriers to completely remove any Huawei or ZTE equipment from US networks. This comes just after the Department of Commerce added 60 Chinese companies to the Entity List, including Huawei and drone maker DJI.

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Posts: 293   +279
Good hopefully it will help cut down on state sponsored hacking attempts and thwart some identity theft, because corps seem to be dummies at sending non encrypted credentials, now if only we can get them to secure servers and databases.


Posts: 3,280   +3,615
LOL, it could be raining zombies from the sky and these political animals would be filling the Zombie Relief Act with pork just like this. $7 million might be enough to temporarily subsidize those at the very bottom of the socioeconomic ladder but we all know it will become just another permanent entitlement..and every bit of that money will go to those who can already GET home broadband. Those in the big cities are already awash in cheap broadband options while those on the "last mile" have NONE. The three previous "rural broadband" initiatives gave billions to Big Telecom and literally not one dime of it went to its intended purpose. Does anyone really think that a Biden administration is interested in helping people in mostly red states become more connected? Hopefully we'll never have to find out. Also, if their going to make taxpayers pay to replace back-end gear for giant telecoms then none of it should be deductible. But of course we know it will be.


Posts: 516   +347
Yeah right. Be like all the rest of these internet funds, 0 improvement where it's actually needed. Only thing available here are rippoff hughesnet and viasat satellite internet who charge $150+ for 50GB data and typically provides less than 200 KB/S speed while lying to your face that you are getting full speeds.
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Posts: 63   +76
$3.2 billion towards offering qualifying households a $50 monthly subsidy, so that Internet access is guaranteed until the situation improves

- "until the situation improves"

Google fiber is one answer for the US's broadband needs.

Of course the goog are grotty commies who can't be trusted with a glass string. I suppose we could be happy with a new $20 billion annual permanent-not-so-temporary telecom bill.