In many parts of the U.S., high-speed internet access is still hard to come by. Yes, even in the year 2023.
However, President Joe Biden and his administration are planning a huge multibillion dollar investment in hopes of changing that.
On Monday, the White House announced(opens in a new tab) a $42 billion plan to make high-speed broadband internet access universally available in the U.S. by 2030. The money will be divided up between states, with 19 states receiving more than $1 billion.
“It’s the biggest investment in high-speed internet ever,” said President Biden in a statement. “Because for today’s economy to work for everyone, internet access is just as important as electricity, or water, or other basic services.”
Under the plan, Texas will receive the most money, roughly $3.31 billion. California comes in second with an investment of $1.86 billion in funding. Missouri, Michigan, and North Carolina round out the top 5 with around $1.5 to $1.7 billion in funding each. Washington DC will receive around $100 million in funding under the plan to expand broadband access.
According to Reuters, a new report(opens in a new tab) detailing broadband coverage in the U.S. – or lack thereof – by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was used to divide the funding between the states. The $42 billion was authorized by the 2021 infrastructure law that Biden supported as part of the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program.
“These investments will help all Americans,” Biden said(opens in a new tab), adding that access isn’t the only issue his administration is working on, saying they are working with internet service providers (ISPs) to provide affordable services for Americans too. “We’re not going to leave anyone behind.”
“High-speed internet isn’t a luxury anymore,” the president said. “It’s become an absolute necessity.”
The Biden administration has previously announced investments into expanding high-speed broadband internet access throughout the U.S., however, this announcement marks the largest so far. Biden has especially focused his efforts on areas where the ISPs have been reluctant to build out into, like rural areas. This explains why the plan focuses such large investments into Texas, California and other states like Alabama and Louisiana.
Like Biden said, the internet has become an important and necessary everyday utility for most Americans. States will be required to submit a plan of action as to how they will achieve universal access in order to begin to unlock its portion of the funding. According to Biden, 35,000 projects have already been funded or are underway as part of his administration’s efforts to expand broadband access.