Senate and House Democrats pledged, on Thursday, to grant all Americans access to high-speed Internet in an effort to close the digital divide.
The proposal is part of the party's new economic agenda, "A Better Deal," named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's national infrastructure investment.
High-speed Internet is crucial to this economic plan, which focuses on better jobs, better wages and a better future, according to Democrats. Today 34 million Americans have no broadband Internet; two thirds, or 23 million, are from rural communities, said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos who serves central Illinois.
"The electricity of today is Internet high-speed access," she said. "It starts by making a $40 billion investment to broadband all over the country."
Industry organization USTelecom approved the measure.
"Closing the digital divide won’t be easy or inexpensive, but an economic jump-start for areas without access to broadband Internet service will be worth the investment and remains a national priority," said USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter in a statement.
Under the White House plan, President Trump will dole out 80% of the allotted $50 billion for rural infrastructure – or $40 billion – directly to state leaders, letting governors pick from areas such as broadband, power generation, water facilities or transportation.
It will cost less than $20 billion to connect unserved US anchor institutions with fiber, a step that will deliver fiber-based broadband to 95% of the population, a cost analysis conducted for the SHLB Coalition said.
In a February 21 radio show, Jeremy Harris, director of subscriber solutions and experience at ADTRAN, will discuss how service providers can use SD-Access, virtualization, automation and other technologies to improve customer experience – thereby decreasing churn and boosting sales.