Democrats are taking a couple of bites at the $100 billion connect-everyone legislative apple.
On the same day Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) introduced his bill to fund universal connectivity to the tune of $100 billion, all 32 members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee joined to introduce the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act (LIFT America Act).
The $312 billion infrastructure bill covers energy, drinking water, and healthcare as well as broadband, the latter which includes another $6 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
The broadband portion totals $109.3 billion, comprising $80 billion for 100% broadband deployment, plus $15 billion for next gen 911 services, $5 billion for low-interest federal loans for broadband deployment, and $9.3 billion in subsidies for "affordability" and education to make sure "everyone can afford internet service and have the knowledge and tools to use the internet in ways that meet their needs."
The FCC would be authorized to award $60 billion of that in a competitive bidding process, with the other one-fourth going to states for their own competitive bidding process.
The broadband portion also would mandate that the FCC adopt rules to collect price and network resiliency data from ISPs and incentivize those ISPs to disclose price and terms of service and it would require the FCC to come up with rules to allow E-rate to be used to fund Wi-Fi service on school buses.
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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.
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