Big Tech Wary Of Biden’s $100B ‘Broadband for All’ Plan
President Joe Biden’s massive $2 trillion infrastructure proposal includes $100 billion to provide “Broadband for All” Americans. However, the plan doesn’t leave much room for big tech companies.
Instead, the plan prioritizes spending for government-run or nonprofit networks. According to a White House fact sheet, these companies have less pressure to focus on profits. At the same time, they can remain committed to serving their local communities.
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Big Tech Pushes Back
The Biden team wants to provide broadband for all. Specifically, he’s targeting 35% of rural Americans who use below standard internet speeds. The plan also earmarks billions to build internet infrastructure on tribal lands. However, the plan will require consultation with tribal communities before proceeding.
Cable and telecom lobbying groups already made their opposition known. Michael Powell, head of the cable industry group NCTA, said that they share the same goal as the President. They also want to ensure 100% access to broadband networks for all Americans.
However, they find the government’s plan to provide funding and subsidies to local networks hard to accept. In addition, they also oppose the plan to devote federal dollars for future-proof networks.
Many believe future-proof is a reference to fiber technology, which edges out cable. Finally, Biden also promised to bring down prices.
Biden’s Plan Ignores the Reality of Broadband
While the objectives to provide broadband access to rural areas are commendable, the plan ignores the reality of rural landline broadband provision. For one, the plan rejects incorporating Big Tech in-network cost recovery. If rural networks get an upgrade, streaming video firms like Netflix, Hulu, etc become the main beneficiaries.
Big streaming video entertainment traffic takes up 90% of network operating costs. In contrast, work, education, health, and other services only take up 25% of bandwidth. Also, they only use up 10% of the cost. This means, upgrading rural networks benefits big tech streamers. They can now reach more areas with minimal fronting expansion costs.
Forbes’ Roslyn Layton wrote that Biden’s broadband plan needs to focus on social uses. These include e-government, telehealth, homework, online work, public safety, news, and e-commerce. Instead, Biden’s policy will directly benefit bandwidth-heavy services. Streaming services companies should be the ones to cover their distribution costs.
The Many Challenges of Biden’s Infra Plan
Critics of the entire infrastructure plan are coming in from all sides. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called it a “Trojan horse” for progressives. Republicans have their knives out while they wait for the bill to arrive at the Senate floor. Meanwhile, Biden’s plan also got a thumbs down from his own party mates.
Moderate Senator Joe Manchin (WV) said that planned tax hikes might be too high for businesses. With a lot of opposition, Biden’s Broadband for All proposal will need a lot of horse-trading to push through.
Meanwhile, Powell cautioned the Biden White House against leaving them out. He said they shouldn’t promote policies designed to penalize incumbent broadband providers. Powell said the industry already made billions in investments in broadband infrastructure.
These improvements helped America stay connected throughout the pandemic. Big Tech “met the enormous challenge of the pandemic, keeping Americans working from home, learning remotely, and using telehealth to stay safe,” he said. This is why the government shouldn’t withhold funding and incentives from them.
Jonathan Spalter, CEO of the trade group USTelecom, agrees. “Our shared communications networks are backed by $1.8 trillion in private investment that helped the country navigate the depths of the pandemic with reliable and resilient connectivity,” he said.
Good Luck Getting the Broadband for All Plan Passed
Republicans already declared that Biden’s infrastructure plan has little chance of receiving GOP support. With a slim majority, Democrats can only maneuver so much before trade-offs and concessions come into play. The broadband industry will also be looking over its shoulders during this negotiation process.
“We are ready to support a new broadband expansion plan that is well-crafted and will connect unserved areas and provide financial assistance to low-income and minority communities.
Billions of dollars are a big factor in this equation, but wise policies and carefully crafted details will make the difference between a watershed moment, and a flood of waste, failure, and regret,” Powell concluded.
Watch the CNBC TV video where T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert weighs in on ‘Home Internet’ and President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan:
Will you support Biden’s Broadband For All plan complete with a $100 billion budget? Do you think the program’s plan aligns with the objectives?
Let us know what you think about this proposal. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Not many political ideas these days align with my beliefs.government needs to govern and industry will take care of industry. Nothing is either free or easy in the world. If you want better internet, buy it for yourself. That’s the problem , no one wants to earn anything on their own, they want the working class to pay for it through taxes.
This sounds similar to give everyone a cell phone.
More Spending on BS ~ Drop in the bucket for Biden
Beware services from the government. They use them to control the people. Everything the government does can be done profitably by the private sector.
Just more big Govt ” Big Brother” control over people’s lives, what the Gov’t gives it controls, nothing is free
Why would anyone wish the government controlling the money for the internet more government control. Lies and more control all that comes out of the Democrats and left Washington DC. Time to get them closer to GOD
Our governing document, The Constitution, does not permit the federal government to confiscate the wealth of some citizens to provide goods and services for others who either can’t or won’t provide for themselves. That is the work of charitable organizations and private individuals and should be voluntary, not mandated through and government monopoly on coercive force. We are either a constitutional democratic republic, or something else, but it is time for the American people to decide.
Some one has to pay for this they are going to bankrupt the country they are going to run out of taxable income most will be on the government free income and not working
5G towers are deadly to all living things depending on O2 to live it will drop a human’s level from 95% or higher to 60%. The frequency attaches directly to our Oxygen molecule in our body. This technology was never tested and BG wants over a million in the UDA. Look up where they are located. Major cities now with the highest population which also report the highest COVID cases. Wake up America.
Government should do what government does best and stick to improving nonprofit infrastructure.
In my opinion they should focus on major highways, bridges, drinking water distribution networks, drainage collection networks, river flood control facilities, sewage collection & treatment systems, international serving sea & river port facilities, airport facilities.
Border protection & national forest areas would also be better protected if included within the infrastructure programs.
Communication systems are constantly being improved & are best kept in private hands.
BIDEN NEEDS A BRAIN IMPLANT AS HE HAS NONE.
Never ceases to amaze me. Retrumplicans always repeat about lies when their DADDY trump told more lies than all politicians together have told before him and the person that stated that president Biden doesn’t have a brain when their daddy trump said to drink Clorox or Lysol to stop COVID. IDIOTS.
The only way to fight this insanity is to write our representatives.
I agree, this is a leap to another government power grab.