Vice President Kamala Harris took the Biden Administration's glass-half-empty pitch on broadband deployment to a National Association of Counties (NACo) annual conference Friday (July 9) in Prince Georges County, Md., in an effort to drum up support for infrastructure investment.
President Biden has put Harris in charge of his goal of getting affordable, high-speed internet to every home in the country. Currently, that is pitching a bipartisan infrastructure package that includes $65 billion for broadband.
The speech came the same day the President signed a competition executive order encouraging the FCC to regulate to combat what the Administration argues are too high broadband prices and insufficient competition, meaning insufficient choice, for consumers.
Harris echoed those criticisms in calling on NACo to help the administration lobby for the infrastructure bill.
She talked about students having to go to a fast food restaurant parking lot to do their homework, and seniors "tragically during the pandemic" who had to huddle in the public library to video chat with their doctors "with little of no privacy."
She said that more than half of the nation's three thousand counties have internet speeds below already outdated "minimum broadband standards," adding: "I think we all agree this is clearly unacceptable. We agree that when Americans are cut off from high-speed internet, they are in fact, cut off from opportunity.
She said the infrastructure agreement would help connect all those Americans, open up competition to bring prices down, and close the digital divide.
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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.