President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has been an impressive initiative in history for all citizens of America as it has set aside $65 billion to make high-speed internet access available to all. This is a major development as the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment, as well as the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Programs have come forward with their support in the form of infrastructure planning, digital inclusion, and deployment projects. All eligible states and territories are on board with providing internet access too; making sure that all Americans can stay connected with the digital world. Among some of its biggest beneficiaries are students in both primary and secondary schools, low-income households, rural/remote regions, tribal communities, and seniors staying in local communities.
Four organizations, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are leading the effort to increase high-speed Internet access in the United States. These programs make sure that high-speed Internet is properly planned for, infrastructure is created for its implementation and that users are able to effectively utilize it. This includes initiatives such as data collection, mapping and studies for planning, infrastructure development and subsidies, equipment, public access, digital literacy training, skill building, workforce improvement, telemedicine, and remote learning for adoption.
The Infrastructure bill includes various measures intended to improve broadband access and digital equity in the US. It includes $42.5 billion to deploy new wires, $14.2 billion to provide a monthly subsidy to low-income households, $2.75 billion to teach people how to use the internet and their home connection, $2 billion for better connectivity in tribal lands, and $1 billion for adding ‘middle-mile’ connections. All of these measures together are intended to increase broadband access and digital equity across the US.
The government will ensure the funds are utilized in the most effective manner. Federal regulations prioritize areas lacking infrastructure and cities disadvantaged economically, while states may implement additional policies on top of these guidelines.
The Federal Communications Commission recently revealed a concerning statistic—12% of Americans currently don’t have access to broadband with speeds high enough to make full use of digital infrastructure. This means many are literally stuck in the past, lacking the resources needed to access up-to-date technology seen by those who do have home broadband internet, including streaming services and other popular web tools. It is clear that a lack of adequate access to broadband serves as yet another barrier to success for many individuals, making it more difficult for them to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to remain competitive in today’s digital economy. In light of this revelation, immediate action must be taken on behalf of governmental bodies and other organizations to ensure all citizens have an equal opportunity to stay connected. This is the background that inspired this initiative.
Meanwhile according to Pew Research, 23% of Americans are lacking an internet connection in their own homes, a statistic that remains shocking. This disconnect is not only seen in rural areas but urban areas as well due to the increasing costs associated with these connections. This fact leaves many families or individuals at a disadvantage when it comes to maintaining a proper mode of communication and staying up-to-date on current events and news. While different solutions may exist to decrease this number, it is clear that more must be done in order to get more households connected and take advantage of the tremendous impact the internet can have on our lives today.