On the heels of the latest US stimulus bill passing the House and Senate, Democrats revealed the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act this morning. The proposed legislation includes an investment of $94 billion over the next three to four years to improve nationwide internet access, speeds, and offer subsidies.
Reported by The Washington Post, the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act proposal was sponsored by 30 House and Senate Democrats. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led the creation of the legislation.
The aim of the bill is to expand Internet coverage to places it isn’t available, increase speeds in places it lags behind, and also provide subsidies to families who have trouble paying for it.
Senator Angus King of Maine (I) compared the Internet Act to the “rural electrification in the ’30s.”
“The pandemic really brought into absolutely clear focus for everyone how important broadband is,” said Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who helped secure the infrastructure funds during late-stage negotiations over the package. “This is like rural electrification in the ’30s.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Clyburn believes the investment will be key to growing the US economy and is “one of the best infrastructure efforts” to make right now:
“We’re not going to grow the economy in our communities all across the country without broadband,” Clyburn told The Washington Post. “The investments we’re making in this, and the build-out over three to four years, makes this one of the best infrastructure efforts we can undertake today.”
In the past, Republicans have mostly leaned toward letting the private market take care of itself when it comes to Internet infrastructure instead of involving the government. However, Democrats feel they have a shot to move this bill forward with a majority now in the House and Senate.