House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) took to the House floor Tuesday to talk up the massive Moving Forward Act infrastructure bill, including its $100 billion in funding for broadband buildouts he said will close the digital divide.
The $1.5 trillion-plus bill would allocate billions to subsidize broadband competition--including from municipal providers--in "underserved" areas, which according to the Dems could mean where service is already provided by private capitol at just short of gig speeds.
"The pandemic has starkly demonstrated the need to ensure families all across the nation have access to high-speed internet," he told his colleagues according to his prepared remarks. "The Moving Forward Act provides over $100 billion to fund broadband-related programs, which will get us to 100 percent internet coverage. This also includes additional funding for the Lifeline program which helps low-income Americans pay for their internet bills.
"Kids all around the nation need access to broadband to participate in their classes online for the fall and potentially much longer."
On the Senate side Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci and others were being grilled on just when and how students would be getting their schooling come the fall.
"This legislation provides $5 billion for mobile hot spots and connected devices to make sure students who don’t have access to these resources at home can effectively engage with remote learning," said Pallone. "We also authorize $12 billion to upgrade our frail 9-1-1 infrastructure for the next generation."
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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.