President Joe Biden's 2022 budget, released Friday (May 28) continues to paint the less-than-flattering portrait of broadband deployment that has typified his push for massive infrastructure spending, including that broadband is overpriced.
That American Jobs Plan infrastructure package, which includes $100 billion for broadband deployment, is the centerpiece of the new budget, which says the White House, will "bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every household, including the more than 35% of rural families who lack access to broadband infrastructure, the millions of families paying too much for broadband, and the millions of low-income and marginalized communities left behind by digital redlining and the digital divide."
That 35% figure for rural families does not necessarily mean that none of those have access to broadband service since the budget says those are rural families who lack access to broadband at what the White House says are "minimally acceptable speeds." It does not elaborate on what unacceptable speeds are.
ISPs argue that rather than overbuild existing service, the Administration should focus its spending on getting broadband to those who have none rather than define lack of broadband in terms of price or speed or competition, which could lead to such overbuilding, including by the municipal networks and co-ops the Administration appears to favor.
"[T]he Biden Administration’s call for investments in reliable, affordable broadband comes at a time Americans need it most," said budget fan and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). "Our increasing reliance on telework and telehealth options proves that high-speed internet isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity, like any other utility. I applaud the Biden Administration for putting forth a budget that recognizes access to internet means access to opportunity.”
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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