When President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last November, it promised $45 billion to help upgrade America’s spotty broadband infrastructure.
This week, administration officials offered more details on how that money will be made available through a new “Internet for All” program that aims to bring high-speed internet to every part of the U.S.
“We are going to ensure every American will have access to technologies that allow them to attend class, start a small business, visit with their doctor, and participate in the modern economy,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.
During a recent Yahoo Finance interview, she described broadband efforts as “a huge piece of business here at the Department of Commerce.” She visited Durham, North Carolina, Friday for the announcement, reportedly saying, “this is by far the biggest investment in internet ever in our nation’s history."
It's 'going to transform lives'
Biden officials promise the program will help increase internet access in every corner of our country, including many places that have been left behind.
"That's going to transform lives," Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said Monday of the program, adding that increased access to telemedicine could even save lives in addition to changing them.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added that Friday’s announcement is "another key step to ensure that working families can succeed in the 21st Century economy.”
Recent government data has revealed that at least 19 million Americans lack broadband access. Other estimates have pegged the number lacking adequate connections higher at 42 million. Microsoft (MSFT) has also studied the issue and says the actual number could be as high as 120.4 million people lacking high-speed internet.
The infrastructure law put aside $65 billion in total for the broadband efforts, with $15 billion funding a program to lower internet costs for consumers. Biden announced Monday that 20 leading internet service providers have agreed to offer low-cost plans that will be free for millions of Americans after a refund.