Thursday, November 30, 2023

Biden announces broadband plan and ISPs will hate him

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President Biden’s plan to Connect All Americans to Broadband Broadband includes proposals to stimulate competition, build more public networks, lower prices, and prioritize “future-proof” networks over those which would quickly become obsolete. In other words, the plan includes some of the broadband industry’s least favorite ideas and is sure to meet stiff resistance from cable and telecommunications lobby groups and Republicans.

$ 100 billion from Biden broadband The proposal is part of the US jobs plan outlined by the White House in a fact sheet published on Wednesday. The broadband details released so far are a bit vague and the plan could be changed in Congress, but there is a lot to like for Internet users.

“The President believes that we can provide affordable, reliable and high-speed broadband services to all Americans with a historic investment of $ 100 billion,” the backgrounder said. The $ 100 billion in broadband funding would be spread over several years, as the whole jobs plan is expected to “invest about $ 2 trillion this decade.”

Municipality-owned networks, nonprofits and co-ops are said to play a major role in the expansion launched by Biden. The broadband industry and Republicans have fought city-owned networks for years, and nearly 20 states have laws that restrict the growth of municipal broadband. While the Democrats have offers eliminating these state laws, Republicans in Congress last month offers a national ban on municipal broadband.

Biden’s plan “prioritizes supporting broadband networks owned, operated by or affiliated with local governments, nonprofits and cooperatives – providers with less pressure to generate profits and with a commitment to serve entire communities, ”says the White House fact sheet.

Biden’s plan also seeks to “promote price transparency and competition among internet providers, including removing barriers that prevent municipal or affiliate providers and rural power cooperatives from competing on an equal footing with private providers, and requiring internet providers to clearly disclose the prices they charge. “The ‘removing barriers’ portion of this statement could be a reference to overturning state laws that restrict municipal broadband, but the fact sheet is not more precise on this point.

The proposal “also ensures that funds are set aside for infrastructure on tribal lands and that tribal nations are consulted in administering the program,” the fact sheet said. “Along the way, it will create well-paying jobs with labor protections and the right to organize and bargain collectively.”

Biden’s plan to “demand[e] Internet providers to clearly disclose the prices they charge “is another idea hated by the major broadband providers, who love to advertise low rates and then hit users with a lot more monthly bills. high thanks to a plethora of hidden fees. The Obama-era Title II regulations included rules. requiring more price transparency, but they were eliminated when president FCC Ajit Pai led a vote to deregulate the industry and repeal Net Neutrality rules.

Biden’s fact sheet did not specify the price disclosure rules he offers, but he also promised other actions to reduce prices. The fact sheet said:

While the President recognizes that individual grants to cover the costs of the Internet may be necessary in the short term, he believes that continually providing grants to cover the cost of overpriced Internet service is not the right solution. long term for consumers or taxpayers. Americans pay too much for the Internet – far more than people in many other countries – and the President has pledged to work with Congress to find a solution to lower Internet prices for all Americans, increase adoption in rural and urban areas, empower suppliers and save taxpayers money.


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