US will spend $45 billion on low-cost Internet access

US will spend $45 billion on low-cost Internet access: The US government has announced a new broadband funding initiative with the declared goal of bridging the digital divide by the end of the decade.

The bipartisan ‘Internet for All’ effort, which has a budget of $45 billion, is part of the $1 trillion national Infrastructure Bill and consists of three programmes that will expand last-mile network coverage, upgrade middle-mile infrastructure, and promote digital literacy. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is part of the Commerce Department, is in charge of the effort.

“You just cannot participate in the economy in the twenty-first century unless you have access to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo stated late last week. “Thanks to President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, Americans will no longer be held back by a lack of high-speed Internet connection.” We’ll make sure that every American has access to the technologies they need to go to class, establish a small business, see their doctor, and participate in the modern economy.”

According to the most current broadband pricing analysis conducted by Cable.co.uk, the United States ranks 134th in the world in terms of fixed broadband affordability, with an average package costing $55. US will spend $45 billion on low-cost Internet access. In comparison, the average monthly cost in the United Kingdom is $39, while it costs roughly $29 and $28 in France and Germany, respectively. Furthermore, according to Pew Research data released in September, the median hourly pay in the United States was $22 in the second quarter of last year. So it’s not cheap, and according to numbers released by comparison site Broadband Now in May, an estimated 42 million Americans lack access to the fixed or fixed wireless broadband.

T-Mobile US debuted its 5G-based fixed wireless service in May, aiming at the fixed broadband sector. Fixed broadband consumers, according to CEO Mike Sievert, are “the least satisfied in America,” and the taxes, contracts, and price hikes are “crazy.”

There appears to be a lot of potential for improvement, which helps to explain why the government is willing to invest so much money.

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) programme, which will extend nationwide last-mile service, has received the vast majority of the budget — $42.5 billion. US will spend $45 billion on low-cost Internet access. The initial stage in applying for financing for states and other qualified entities is to submit a statement of intent and a planned money budget. This will release an initial $5 million to assist in the development of a five-year action plan. According to the NTIA, each state will get at least $100 million to fund network deployments, with more funds available based on the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming coverage maps (FCC).

In a country the size of the United States, connecting all those local access networks back to the core is expensive, which is why the Internet for All plan includes $1 billion for an Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Initiative. This programme will provide grants to qualifying businesses for the development, improvement, or acquisition of middle-mile infrastructure on a technology-neutral, competitive basis.

Furthermore, the United States aims to ensure that residents have the necessary abilities to make the most of the Internet. To that end, $1.5 billion of the $45 billion will go toward the Digital Equity Act, which would provide digital literacy training to rural populations, people of colour, and the elderly.

As with any large-scale national broadband programme, the risk is that the subsidy allocation procedure will ultimately determine who wins and who loses in the rural broadband market. This could leave end consumers with a limited number of ISP options, resulting in price and affordability issues. The US government is attempting to address this by requiring low-income households to pay affordable tariffs.

“The funding in President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Law will enable us to expand broadband infrastructure to every corner of our country, make service affordable for all, and guarantee users have the devices and digital skills they require,” said Don Graves, deputy commerce secretary.US will spend $45 billion on low-cost Internet access. “However, we need a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach to succeed — everyone who cares about our linked future should be involved today.”

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