Story at a glance
- President Biden is addressing the digital divide.
- Fast Internet is part of Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
President Biden is investing $100 billion into expanding broadband access nationwide, promising affordable internet to “all Americans” by 2029.
During his unveiling of the American Jobs Plan on Wednesday — the $2 trillion expenditure bill to deliver new infrastructure in the next eight years that will simultaneously create jobs — Biden prioritized “100% high-speed broadband coverage,” The Guardian reported.
There is a disparity in getting access to affordable, high-speed internet among different demographics. The Biden administration aims to provide relief to businesses and families that depend on the Internet now more than ever.
“A stark digital divide,” Biden said, referring to the gap amongst users who benefit from using the web throughout the country, commonly known as the digital divide.
“The last year made painfully clear the cost of these disparities, particularly for students who struggled to connect while learning remotely, compounding learning loss and social isolation for those students,” the administration wrote.
The administration aims to provide internet access to 35 percent of rural Americans, saying these areas will get “electricity of the 21st century.” Biden compared his plan to the 1936 Rural Electrification Act, the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas.
In addition to small businesses and individuals, Biden’s plan aims to provide 100 percent broadband coverage for local governments, nonprofits and cooperatives, and he is offering to fund projects on tribal lands.
The plan was met with both praise and disappointment, with some lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) saying it does not go far enough, and Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming criticizing it as “a Trojan horse for more liberal spending and higher taxes,” PCMag reported.
The details on how the administration plans on providing internet to rural areas are unknown.
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