High-speed internet is a necessity, President Biden says, pledging all US will have access by 2030

WASHINGTON (AP) President Joe Biden on Monday said high-speed internet was no longer a luxury but an absolute necessity, as he promised every household in the nation will have access by 2030 using U.S.-made cable

These investments will help all Americans, he said. We will leave no one behind.

Biden announced that more than $40 billion would be distributed across the country to provide high-speed Internet in places where there is no service or the service is too slow.

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But that’s not enough to have access, you need convenience and access, the president said, adding that his administration is working with service providers to bring down the cost of what is now a household service like water or gas. gas, but often remains a premium price.

With Monday’s announcement, the administration is launching the second phase of its Investing in America tour. The three-week blitz of speeches and events is designed to further Biden’s previous legislative victories on infrastructure, the economy and climate change ahead of a re-election year. The president and his advisers believe that voters don’t know enough about his policies ahead of his 2024 re-election campaign and that more voters would support him once they know more.

Biden’s challenge is that investments in computer chips and large infrastructure projects like train tunnels can take a decade to materialize. This leaves much of the messaging focused on grants that will be spent over time, rather than completed projects.

Internet access funding amounts depended primarily on the number of unserved locations in each jurisdiction or those locations that do not have access to Internet download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and download speeds of 3 Mbps. Download speeds involve retrieving information from the Internet, including streaming movies and TV. Upload speeds determine how quickly information travels from a computer to the Internet, such as sending email or posting photos online.

The funding includes more than $1 billion each for 19 states, with the remaining states falling below that threshold. Awards range from $100.7 million for Washington, DC to $3.3 billion for Texas.

Biden said more than 35,000 projects are already funded or underway to lay cables that provide Internet access. Some of that comes from $25 billion in seed funding as part of the American Rescue Plan.

High-speed internet is no longer a luxury, he said. It has become an absolute necessity.

More than 7% of the country falls into the least affluent category, according to the Federal Communications Commission analysis of st.

Senator Joe Manchin, whom Biden called as a friend during today’s announcement, celebrated the $1.2 billion West Virginia will receive to expand service into the rural and mountainous state by about 1.8 million.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo joined Manchin at a press conference following Biden’s announcement and said the West Virginia allotment would be enough money to finally connect every resident.

When I say everyone, I mean everyone, she said. Raimondo said the reason this hasn’t happened in the past is because it’s expensive to lay fiber in a rural or mountainous area.

And so the internet providers haven’t done that, it doesn’t make economic sense to them, he said. What we were telling them now is, with this money, $1.2 billion to connect about 300,000 people in West Virginia, that’s a lot of money to reach everyone.

Congress approved the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, along with several other Internet expansion initiatives, through the infrastructure account Biden signed in 2021.

Earlier this month, the Commerce Department announced award winners for the average milewhich will fund projects that build the core infrastructure needed to extend Internet access to every part of the country.

States have until the end of the year to submit proposals outlining how they intend to use that money, which won’t begin to be distributed until those plans are approved. Once the Department of Commerce approves those initial plans, states can give grants to telecommunications companies, electric cooperatives and other providers to expand the Internet infrastructure.

Under the program’s rules, states must prioritize connecting predominantly underserved areas before beefing up service in underserved areas, i.e., those without access to Internet speeds of 100Mbps/20Mbps and in schools, libraries or other community institutions.

Basing such a large investment on FCC data has been somewhat controversial. Members of Congress pressed FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on inaccuracies they claimed would negatively impact rural state plots in particular, and state broadband officials were worried about the short time to fix discrepancies in the first version of the map.

The second version of the map, released at the end of May and used for the gardens, reflects the net addition of 1 million locations, updated data from Internet service providers and the results of more than 3 million public challenges, Rosenworcel, which in the past has been critical of how FCC maps were developed, he said in a May statement.

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AP reporter Leah Willingham contributed from Charleston, West Virginia.

Harjai, who reported from Los Angeles, is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places reporters on local newsrooms to report on hidden issues.


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