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Sevana Wenn
By Sevana Wenn July 6, 2023

Biden announces more than $42 billion for states to invest in high-speed internet

President Joe Biden's administration has allocated $42.45 billion to states and U.S. territories as part of his pledge to increase broadband internet access to all Americans.

"High-speed internet isn't a luxury anymore; it's become an absolute necessity," Biden said June 26 during a White House event promoting the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program. 

Congress approved funds for the program, alongside other internet access expansion initiatives, as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill  Biden signed in 2021. The June 26 announcement provided more specific information about how the $42.45 billion will be divided among 50 U.S. states, five territories and the District of Columbia. Eligible entities can use the funds to administer grant programs within their borders, expanding broadband access to underserved communities. 

Once distributed, the funds will further Biden's promise of universal high-speed internet access. 

The allocations range from about $27 million for the U.S. Virgin Islands to $3.3 billion for Texas, according to the Biden administration. Nineteen states received more than $1 billion.

"With these allocations and other Biden administration investments, all 50 states, D.C., and the territories now have the resources to connect every resident and small business to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by 2030," said a White House fact sheet.

States and territories were to begin submitting initial proposals describing how they will administer grant programs July 1. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will approve these proposals on a rolling basis until Dec. 27. Once a proposal is approved, an eligible entity may receive at least 20% of its allocated funds.

Biden's plan has the potential to provide internet access to some of America's most underserved populations, especially rural and tribal communities. PolitiFact will continue monitoring progress on this pledge; for now, the rating remains In the Works.

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson January 12, 2022

Signing of bipartisan infrastructure bill is major step forward for broadband promise

President Joe Biden's promise to expand broadband internet to every American took a major step forward with his signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Nov. 15, 2021.

The law included many items from Biden's agenda. It was negotiated by a bipartisan group of senators, then passed with bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House.

The roughly $1 trillion measuer includes sections on roads, bridges, waterways, railways, and the electric grid. But it also includes about $65 billion for improving broadband internet access, particularly in rural areas and for lower-income Americans.

It will send more than $42 billion in grant money to states to improve internet access.

"This bill will help address several issues as it relates to access, affordability, and transparency," Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports, wrote shortly after the bill's enactment. "This bipartisan effort is critical for ensuring that more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, have a connection to high-speed internet." 

The investments in the bipartisan infrastructure law come on top of funding included in the American Rescue Plan, the coronavirus and economic relief law signed by Biden just weeks into his presidency. The legislation included $350 billion for states to improve their infrastructure, some of which could be spent on broadband, as well as a separate provision called the Capital Projects Fund that could also be used for broadband projects.

The bill's signing is a major step forward, but we'll hold off on crediting Biden with keeping this promise until we see how smoothly the provisions in the laws are implemented on the ground. This remains In the Works.

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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson June 10, 2021

Biden’s infrastructure plan proposes $100 billion for broadband expansion

Joe Biden made a bold promise as a candidate in 2020 — that he'd expand broadband to every American. It's still early, but he made the pledge concrete by including it in his American Jobs Plan, which was his opening proposal in the quest for an infrastructure bill.

In his proposal, Biden compared the need for broadband Internet to the need to electrify the country generations earlier. He said he would "bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American, including the more than 35% of rural Americans who lack access to broadband at minimally acceptable speeds."

Specifically, Biden would spend $100 billion to extend broadband infrastructure in underserved areas, prioritizing support for networks affiliated with local governments, nonprofit groups, and cooperatives.

He also proposed increased transparency and competition among internet providers and opened the door to subsidizing individual users who could not otherwise afford access, but the proposal did not include details.

So far, Biden has introduced only a broad outline of legislation he'd like to see; there is no formal bill yet. And passing legislation — which may or may not ultimately include money for broadband  expansion — promises to be a heavy lift.

In fact, bipartisan negotiations over the American Jobs Plan have so far struggled to produce a workable agreement, amid concerns expressed by Republicans that the program costs too much. And in the Senate, support from 60 senators would be required to advance to a final vote, unless Democrats can find a way to pass a measure using the reconciliation process, which requires only a simple majority.

Still, the inclusion of this promise in a high-profile presidential initiative is enough to move it to In the Works.

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