U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday plans to lay out how a $42 billion investment in expanding internet access will be divvied up among the nation’s 50 states, in an effort to give all Americans access to high-speed broadband by 2030.
The move will kick off the second leg of Biden’s tour highlighting how legislation passed by Congress during the first half of his term will affect average Americans, as his reelection bid gears up.
“We have an historic opportunity here to make a real difference in people’s lives and making sure that we deliver on that potential is what we’re about every day and to make sure that people feel that at their kitchen table, in their communities, in their backyards,” White House chief of staff Jeff Zients said.
Zients compared the broadband effort to President Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts in 1936 to bring electricity to rural America. The administration estimates there are some 8.5 million locations in the U.S. that lack access to broadband connections.
Broadband companies such as Verizon, Comcast , Charter Communications and AT&T have been reluctant to provide access to low-population, rural communities because the investments are expensive and the regions do not offer a lot of subscribers. The lack of broadband access drew attention during COVID shutdowns that forced students into online schooling.