Biden sets a deadline of June for a $42 billion internet investment plan
The US government is planning on providing over $42 billion in broadband infrastructure grants to states and localities to provide high-speed Internet access nationwide. President Joe Biden's administration announced that by June 30, it would show out it's strategy for allocating $42.5 billion in funds through its Broadband Capital, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.
The announced deadline comes ahead of the long-awaited update to the US broadband map, which will provide a clearer picture of the nation's internet woes.
The Broadband Capital, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program specifically focuses on ensuring that high-speed Internet access is installed in "underserved areas", defined as those that do not meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) speeds known as broadband (25/3 Mbit/s).
Additionally, the program aims to increase speeds in "underserved" areas that do not have access to 100 Mbps, the number proposed by the FCC's new minimum broadband speeds.
The US broadband landscape is complex and full of inaccurate measurements. The current distribution guidelines, administered by the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), are currently based on FCC Form.
The new bill aims to combat errors by allowing people to challenge published results if they incorrectly reflect the internet services available in selected areas. Any state and local government can also challenge on behalf of grassroots communities. In November 2021, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo called on states to draft out a plan to ensure that everyone in their state has access to high-speed, affordable Internet.
Today, more than 2 million people in the United States do not have access to high-speed Internet which were the words of Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris in a speech in February. She further noted that the reason why half of the population do not have access to high speed internet is as a result of the monthly costs.
An estimation of 10,000 households have signed up to ACP so far, and among the companies directly participating in the program are Internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.
Renowned satellite providers such as DISH and SpaceX's Starlink have sought to bring broadband to underserved communities, customers across the United States by connecting it to a group of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
In July, the FCC gave SpaceX permission to provide Wi-Fi to mobile vehicles, including large trucks, planes and ships, and the potential of satellite broadband to advance rural entrepreneurship is great.
Despite this, satellite broadband in its current state is not mature enough and the network load is insufficient to serve all unserved or underserved Americans, and the government continues to play an important role in ensuring that Internet Service Providers deliver the speeds they are entitled to and expand their networks whenever possible.