President Joe Biden wants to spend $100 billion to bring high-speed internet access to all Americans.
The plan, part of a $2 trillion infrastructure package to be announced this afternoon in Pittsburgh, would prioritize support for broadband networks run by local governments, nonprofits and co-ops. These providers would also be freed of barriers to competition with for-profit entities.
By one estimate, more than 30 million Americans live in places — especially rural areas — that don't have internet service at the government's minimum acceptable speed. And even where online access is available, some people can't afford it.
The White House may look to short-term subsidies but plans to seek a permanent solution for internet costs.
The infrastructure program would also finance repairs to highways and bridges, upgrades to ports and government buildings, and replacement of lead pipes in public water systems. It would be financed in part by an increase in corporate taxes.
The proposal is slightly larger than the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, a putative pandemic relief bill that passed with only Democratic votes last month.