Dems Proposing $40 Billion For Broadband Buildout, Again

House Democrats Wednesday (May 15) are once again introducing an omnibus infrastructure bill, dubbed the Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow’s [LIFT] America Act, which includes allocating tens of billions of dollars for broadband deployment.

The bill would provide $40 billion over the next five years for "secure and resilient broadband" and to expand access with baked in security.

A similar bill with a similar $40 billion for broadband was introduced by House Democrats in 2017, when they were in the minority.

Thirty billion dollars would be used to build out broadband in unserved areas, using a reverse auction to hand out the money. The remaining $10 billion would go to states to hand out through their own reverse auctions, but it does not designate whether that should go to unserved or underserved areas.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) talked about the bill at an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee.

He said the $40 billion would be going to both unserved and underserved, as well as "$12 billion for next generation 9-1-1, and $5 billion for financing new infrastructure projects." 

Pallone also said the full committee will hold a hearing on the bill May 22 at 10 a.m. 

John Eggerton

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.