Representatives Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Susan Brooks, R-Ind., announced the introduction of H.R. 1328: the ACCESS BROADBAND Act today, bipartisan legislation that would expand broadband access in underserved areas and create a simpler process for small businesses and local economic developers to access federal broadband resources.
There is exists a gaping digital divide between Rural America and the rest of the country, in which 146 million people (45 percent of the population) do not have access to a low-price plan for residential broadband. That is according to research released last week by BroadbandNow, which also found a slightly positive correlation between income and low-priced broadband.
On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Recode’s Peter Kafka spoke with Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford about her new book, Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution--And Why America Might Miss It. On the podcast, Crawford explained why nationwide access to high-speed fiber internet -- already standard in parts of Asia and Europe -- is important for everything from the future of work to the successful deployment of 5G wireless networks. She also talked about why Google’s ambitious attempt to compete with the telecom giants, Google Fiber, is all but dead.
Action toward improving the availability and speed of broadband in rural areas is emerging as an early theme in 2019, continuing activity from 2018. Oregon, Washington and the USDA all announced new initiatives last month. In mid-December, the USDA announced the availability of $600 million in grants and loans to support improvement of broadband accessibility across rural America.
In the wake of Tuesday’s power-shifting midterm elections, the White House plans to stay the course in tech policy and may even work with Democrats on beefing up the nation’s broadband infrastructure, a trio of Trump administration officials said today. “We’re on the biggest IT transformation of all time,” said Chris Liddell, a former Microsoft executive who currently serves as White House deputy chief of staff for policy coordination.
The American economy has gone digital and broadband is the connective tissue enabling that transformation. Two decades into the 21st century, it’s impossible to categorize broadband as anything but essential infrastructure. However, broadband doesn’t yet look like the country’s other essential systems.
Investments in rural broadband deployment can create significant returns on investments for state economies. A recent study from Purdue University's Center for Regional Development contends that Indiana could generate a $12 billion economic impact over 20 years with strategic broadband investments in rural areas across the state.
Verizon, for example, has announced a new service for its 5G customers rolling out in four cities: Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, and Indianapolis. Sign up for the company’s service, and you’ll get a free Apple TV ($179) and a subscription to YouTube TV, at $40 per month. Instead of a wired connection, you’ll receive internet service via 5G wireless streaming.
China has in recent years outspent the U.S. by $24 billion in the area of next-generation mobile internet technology known as 5G, potentially creating a "tsunami" that will be difficult to catch up with, according to a Deloitte study published Tuesday.