Unveiling a digital age version of a chicken in every pot, Presidential candidate and Senate Commerce Committee member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has pledged a broadband connection in every home.
Specifically, candidate Klobuchar is making full broadband access by the midway point of her first term as President a priority.
That was part of a trillion-dollar infrastructure rebuild plan her campaign released Thursday (March 28).
Klobuchar said the overall rebuild/upgrade--roads, bridges, green infrastructure, broadband and more--would be her top budget priority from the outset.
That includes connecting every household to the internet by 2022, citing what she says is one in four rural Americans who "say access to high-speed internet is a major problem."
"Amy’s plan will help close the urban-rural divide by creating accurate broadband maps to identify areas that lack adequate access, focus on bringing high-speed internet infrastructure to areas most in need, and provide greater incentives for existing providers to use funds to upgrade their networks to cover unserved and underserved areas," the campaign said."
ISPs and Republicans generally want government to focus on getting broadband to unserved areas, since underserved is a malleable term and could include overbuilding existing plant depending on what the definition of "underserved" is used. ISPs also point out that closing the digital divide is not a case of replacing ailing infrastructure, but of helping extend the reach of high-tech plant ISPs have been spending risk capitol to roll out for decades.
President Donald Trump has said rural broadband access is one of his priorities especially citing the need for high tech agriculture.
But Klobuchar calls the president's overall infrastructure plan--roads, bridges as well as broadband--a "mirage"--the plan is to leverage $200 billion in investment into a $1 trillion dollars of infrastructure rebuild, but leave the decisions about where that money is going, and for what, to others.
Klobuchar is a familiar voice for broadband deployment, having long advocated for "dig once" policies to law broadband pipe and pavement at the same time.
She also recently joined with other senators on a bill to improve broadband mapping, which both sides of the aisle and FCC chair Ajit Pai all agree needs work.
Klobuchar will be taking her broadband platform on the road. She plans to meet with "local leaders" in Stanton, Iowa, Friday (March 29) to talk about investment in rural broadband, the first stop on a Midwwest swing over the weekend to talk up her plan.
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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.