Elizabeth Warren Reveals 85 Billion Public Broadband Plan

first_img President Signs Executive Order Promoting Rural Broadband AccessComcast says privacy is a premium feature you should pay for As if debt, climate change, and poor healthcare weren’t enough, rural communities are often excluded from access to high-speed Internet.Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to change that.In a lengthy Medium post, the Massachusetts senator laid out plans to invest in rural America—including a public option for broadband.“In the 21st century, every home should have access to [reliable, high-speed Internet]—but we’re not even close to that today,” Warren lamented.In 2017, 26.4 percent of people in provincial areas (and 32.1 percent of those occupying tribal lands) did not have access to minimum-speed broadband (25 Mbps/3 Mbps), compared to 1.7 percent in metropolitan areas, the FCC reported.And while urban areas are more likely to have access to fiber broadband, many residents still can’t afford to connect to it.“This ends when I’m president,” Warren promised. “I will make sure every home in America has a fiber broadband connection at a price families can afford. That means publicly owned and operated networks—and no giant ISPs running away with taxpayer dollars.”Her complex proposal features various moving parts. But perhaps most ambitious of all is an $85 billion federal grant program to expand broadband access across the country.The federal government will pay 90 cents on the dollar for construction; in exchange, applicants must offer high-speed public broadband directly to every home in their area.Claimants are obliged to offer at least one plan with 100 Mbps/100 Mbps speeds and one discount Internet plan for low-income customers, with a prepaid feature or low monthly rate.Of the total funds, $5 billion will be earmarked for 100 percent federal grants to tribal nations, in an effort to expand broadband access on Native American lands.Warren also pledged to return broadband rights to local governments, appoint net neutrality advocates to the FCC, improve the accuracy of broadband maps, and invest $2.5 billion over 10 years to ensure everyone has the skills to participate in our digital economy.The candidate’s proposal comes a day after Comcast announced the largest-ever expansion of its Internet Essentials program.The comprehensive broadband adoption program now includes all qualified low-income households in its service area—an estimated 3 million additional units across America.Applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more than a dozen government assistance programs (Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP], Supplemental Security Income [SSI], etc.).Comcast already accepts folks who have a student eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, live in public housing or receive HUD Housing Assistance (including Section 8 vouchers), or participate in the Veterans Pension Program, as well as low-income seniors and community college students in select pilot markets.More on Geek.com:Amazon Will Launch 3,236 Satellites to Offer Broadband Internet From SpacePresident Signs Executive Order Promoting Rural Broadband AccessNASA Brings Broadband to the Moon Stay on targetlast_img

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