EDITOR NOTE: As more details emerge about the Biden Administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan that passed the Senate last week, the more we see how much government overreach it contains. The latest example is the bill's broadband internet provision. This piece of the bill basically recasts the internet as a public utility, putting a large number of new restrictions and requirements on companies that provide it. Could this mean it’s only a matter of time before the government steps in and takes over the internet entirely? It seems like this is more of a real possibility than ever and, if it happens, what happens next? Just ask China and North Korea.
President Biden’s bid to inject government deeper into the private sector is getting its first big test in the broadband industry.
Congress on Tuesday advanced legislation that allocates $65 billion in new taxpayer money to expand high-speed internet access for millions of unconnected households—by far the largest allocation of federal funds ever earmarked for broadband.
The Senate approved it as part of the broader $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed on Tuesday. The measure still requires House approval, where the path is more complicated.
The legislation would wire communities across the country that companies haven’t reached and subsidize bills for low-income households. Private companies would be required to publish details about their products, much like nutrition labels, and offer low-cost service plans if they take federal funds to help build networks.
In doing so, proponents say, the legislation recasts broadband service as a necessity, more akin to water and electricity, to which everyone should have access. Government estimates say about 14 million Americans lived in areas without high-speed internet as of 2019, but officials acknowledge that data is incomplete, and private estimates put the figure at 40 million or higher.
Read more on The Wall Street Journal