Biden announces $42 billion high-speed internet initiative

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is kicking off a more than $42 billion plan to give every American household access to high-speed internet by 2030.

The funds, already allotted by Congress through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce, are slated to be divvied up over the next two years through the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. The initiative is the next stage of Biden’s push to invest in America ahead of his reelection bid.

“Let us agree in the 21st century America, high-speed internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Vice President Kamala Harris speaking at the White House.

“Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber optic cable in America or creating good-paying jobs building internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

Each state will receive a minimum of $107 million, with 19 states receiving over $1 billion. Texas is slated to receive more than $3.3 billion under the program.

White House officials compared the plan to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s effort to bring electricity to rural America in the 1930s.

“Put simply, high-speed internet is a necessity in today’s society,” said Mitch Landrieu, White House infrastructure coordinator. “President Biden and Vice President Harris are committed to leaving no community behind as we connect everyone in America to high-speed internet.”

More than 7% of the country, or more than 8.5 million homes and small businesses, is considered underserved, with internet speed below the government’s standards of at least 25 megabits per second for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.

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