As part of a new $ 2 trillion package to revitalize US infrastructure, the US government has announced a plan to US $ 100 billion in investments for universal broadband high speed in the country.
Details on the initiative were released this past Wednesday, 31, by the White House. “More than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds “, highlighted the Biden administration, with emphasis on the coverage gap in rural areas.
Thus, the plan must prioritize the construction of “future-proof” broadband infrastructure in areas that are not or poorly served. Operators affiliated with local governments, non-profit organizations and cooperatives must have priority to receive the funds, given the “lesser pressure to make a profit with a commitment to serving entire communities”.
Demand incentives are also foreseen, but not as a long-term plan. “Although the president [Joe Biden] recognize that individual grants to cover internet costs may be needed in the short term, it is committed to working with Congress to find a solution to lower Internet prices“said the White House.
The administration regretted that the country has some of the highest broadband prices among OECD members. “Millions of Americans cannot use the broadband Internet, even if there is infrastructure where they live,” argued the government, noting a greater burden between black and Latin communities.
Transparency and pro-competition measures are also foreseen. A survey of barriers that prevent municipal providers or rural cooperatives from competing on an equal footing with major operators should be carried out, as well as the obligation that Internet providers clearly disclose the prices charged.
In parallel, the package also proposes that Congress release $ 50 billion for investments in manufacturing and research and development (R&D) in the country’s semiconductor chain. The incentive was stipulated in the bipartisan law CHIPS and meets the demand of the local industry, which fears a loss of competitiveness against Asian competitors. The trillion-dollar plan announced by the White House still cuts across sectors electrical, sanitation, transport e construction.
The United States government already has a universalization program from the Ronald Reagan era, called Lifeline. The proposal is to use resources from the universalization fund – such as Fust in Brazil – to subsidize regional providers and even access. The proposal was brought by a director of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at a TELETIME event in June last year and even served as a model for some proposals for reformulating the Fust.
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