Broadband Benefits Included in the Infrastructure Bill


Posted On: August 25, 2021

Chris Shirley
cshirley@navigatehousing.com

More than $65 Billion in broadband benefits are included in the infrastructure bill. The U.S. Senate passed the legislation to expand access in rural areas where broadband service is not available. Not only does the bill expand access, but it also calls for internet improvements and more affordable service costs for lower-income households nationwide.

Under the plan, states will get large grants to fund improvements and broadband benefits. According to Consumer Reports, the plan calls for a federal discount on broadband service for low-income families. Additionally, the infrastructure bill requires clear, uniform labeling of internet prices to help consumers compare plans and understand the fees on their monthly bills.

Moreover, advocacy groups, including Consumer Reports, say the broadband benefits are a significant step towards eliminating internet inequities across America.

“We commend the Senate for working together on this much needed investment in broadband infrastructure to ensure that more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, have a connection to high-speed internet.”

 Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy council – consumer reports

Also, cable and broadband service providers both praise the actions of the Senate. The NCTA – The Internet & Television Association represents cable companies and broadband internet service providers.

Chairman Michael Powell also urges House lawmakers to swiftly pass the broadband benefits included in the overall infrastructure bill.

The Broadband Benefits for Everyone

Broadband Service - Wi Fi Router

The broadband benefits extend to everyone, not just those in rural areas or lower-income households.

Here’s how everyone will benefit:

  • First, the infrastructure bill requires internet providers to use uniform labels describing services and prices. For example, prices will become easier to compare, and bills will become easier to read.
  • Second, internet discounts will become permanent. The Emergency Broadband Benefit would be extended indefinitely. Right now, the COVID-19 benefit helping families pay for internet services would expire when the pandemic ends.
  • $42 billion, a bulk of the funds, would go to states directly to fund internet improvements.
  • Finally, the infrastructure bill requires establishing digital equity, inclusion, and literacy programs in underserved areas for broadband service.

Ultimately, the fate of the infrastructure bill now lies in the U.S. House. So far, there has been no movement. However, lawmakers will tackle the legislation when they return from the August recess.



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