UPDATE Analysts and industry pundits are busy poring over the details of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package the Senate passed Tuesday. In a legislative note yesterday, the Wireless infrastructure Association (WIA) offered a breakdown of the $65 billion allocated for broadband:
- $42.45 billion will be funneled to the states, through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Commerce Department, to fund projects each state approves independently.
- Projects that receive state funding must commit to providing speeds of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, something WIA advocated for.
- Projects are also required to demonstrate resilience and priority consideration will be given to projects that can be completed faster. Both factors favor wireless buildout, which WIA says it worked hard to get included.
- Also included in the broadband allocation is:
- $14.2 billion for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Fund (previously the Emergency Broadband Benefit Fund) to help low-income customers pay their bills;
- $2.75 billion for Digital Equity Act programs;
- $2 billion for NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Fund;
- $2 billion in support for rural areas under the USDA ReConnect Program at RUS;
- $1 billion for Middle Mile projects; and
- $600 million for state Private Activity Bonds for rural broadband.
The bill will now move to the House, which likely will take it up in the Fall.