Vice President Kamala Harris talked up the broadband benefits of the recently passed bipartisan Biden infrastructure package, which included $65 billion for broadband buildouts and adoption.
Harris was tapped by President Biden early on to be his point person on the goal of universal internet access. Broadband was not a big Administration talking point in the run-up to the package's successful passage, though it did have a prominent place in the President's bill-signing ceremony.
In a speech in North Carolina to promote the many infrastructure investments in the new law, Harris put on her broadband point person hat.
"With this work we have done together, we will expand broadband in rural and urban areas," she said, drawing applause, "Which I know---and, again, the Governor and I have talked about this--is a big issue for the people of this state.
"And why do we do this? We do this work so that every American can have affordable and accessible high-speed Internet connections to do the work that we know, certainly during the course of the pandemic, became so necessary -- whether it is allowing our children to have access to the Internet to get their homework done.
You know, long gone -- I will speak to a certain generation of people that includes myself -- long gone is Encyclopedia Britannica. They need to have access to the Internet to be able to excel and reach their God-given capacity."
As VP, Joe Biden stumped for broadband as a way to help small businesses compete with larger ones, small business acolyte being one of the issues on which President Obama had designated him point person.
Harris talked that up as well. "Let’s think about access to high-speed Internet for our small businesses and how that helps and is a necessity for them to be able to do their important work."
She also talked about broadband's impact on telemedicine in rural areas, and its creation of "good-paying union jobs." ■
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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.