Friday night, the House voted to pass the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act which includes $65 billion in broadband investments. These investments will fund the deployment of high-speed networks in unserved and underserved areas, make broadband more affordable for low-income households, and fund digital inclusion programs that ensure communities have the necessary tools and skills to effectively use broadband. The legislation also includes important protections that enhance broadband pricing transparency and takes steps that prevent providers from engaging in discriminatory deployment. The legislation passed the Senate in August, which now sits at the president’s desk awaiting signature.
Statement of Yosef Getachew, Common Cause Media and Democracy Program Director
“We applaud Congress for passing an infrastructure bill that contains much-needed investments to address long-standing disparities in broadband connectivity. The legislation addresses all aspects of the digital divide including more than $40 billion to deploy broadband in unserved and underserved communities and $14.2 billion to extend the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a program launched last year that makes broadband more affordable for low-income households. The legislation also includes $2.75 billion to fund digital inclusion programs to meet the communications needs of our communities. The affordability and digital inclusion provisions are particularly noteworthy as Congress has acknowledged that deployment funding on its own is not enough to close the digital divide.
“By all accounts, the broadband investments in this legislation represent a significant step in ensuring marginalized communities that have been left behind in the digital age have access to affordable and robust connectivity necessary to participate in our democracy and economy. While there is still much work to do to close the digital divide, we thank Congress for passing this legislation and look forward to President Biden signing it into law.”