White House says broadband ‘is the new electricity’ as it pledges connectivity for all

White House says broadband ‘is the new electricity’ as it pledges connectivity for all
Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

President Joe Biden is returning to where his campaign started in Pittsburgh to launch a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, including a pledge to ensure connectivity for all.

The eight-year plan will see $100 billion spent on deploying broadband to underserved communities across rural America.

In a release, the White House wrote:

“President Biden believes that building out broadband infrastructure isn’t enough. We also must ensure that every American who wants to can afford high-quality and reliable broadband internet.

While the President recognises that individual subsidies to cover internet costs may be needed in the short term, he believes continually providing subsidies to cover the cost of overpriced internet service is not the right long-term solution for consumers or taxpayers.

Americans pay too much for the internet – much more than people in many other countries – and the President is committed to working with Congress to find a solution to reduce internet prices for all Americans, increase adoption in both rural and urban areas, hold providers accountable, and save taxpayer money.”

A fact sheet accompanying the announcement highlighted the fact that over 30 million Americans are living in areas without any broadband access.

“Internet access will have the same dramatic impact on rural communities as the rural electrification efforts in the last century,” Rep. James E. Clyburn said earlier this month.

The majority of underserved communities are minority communities—creating a “digital divide” and deepening inequalities.

“[Broadband] is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected,” the White House said.

The wider infrastructure plan will also upgrade America’s roads, bridges, and waterways. Biden promises the “Build Back Better” agenda will deliver jobs, boost the economy, and help to reduce carbon emissions.

“The president has a plan to fix the infrastructure of our country,” Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said on Monday. “We are currently 13th in the world. No one believes we should be there, and he has a plan to pay for it.”

Biden’s administration wants to reform the corporate tax code to stop large businesses from shifting profit to tax havens and ensure they pay their fair share.

In its accompanying fact sheet, the White House wrote:

“A recent study found that 91 Fortune 500 companies paid $0 in federal taxes on U.S. income in 2018. Another study found that the average corporation paid just 8 percent in taxes.

President Biden believes that profitable corporations should not be able to get away with paying little or no tax by shifting jobs and profits overseas.”

The Biden administration expects these tax reforms to cover the ambitious infrastructure plan.

(Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash)

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