House Democrats Wednesday (May 15) are once again introducing an omnibus infrastructure bill, dubbed the Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow’s [LIFT] America Act, which includes allocating tens of billions of dollars for broadband deployment.
The bill would provide $40 billion over the next five years for "secure and resilient broadband" and to expand access with baked in security.
A similar bill with a similar $40 billion for broadband was introduced by House Democrats in 2017, when they were in the minority.
Thirty billion dollars would be used to build out broadband in unserved areas, using a reverse auction to hand out the money. The remaining $10 billion would go to states to hand out through their own reverse auctions, but it does not designate whether that should go to unserved or underserved areas.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) talked about the bill at an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee.
He said the $40 billion would be going to both unserved and underserved, as well as "$12 billion for next generation 9-1-1, and $5 billion for financing new infrastructure projects."
"We appreciate the continued interest in supporting broadband buildout across the country, especially in rural America," said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. "We thank Chairman Pallone for his leadership in seeking to expand access to reliable, high-speed service. NTCA members continue to lead the way in deploying future-proof networks wherever possible, but the business case for building and sustaining broadband in rural areas often takes a combination of private entrepreneurship, community commitment, and resources available through programs such as those contemplated by the LIFT America Act. We look forward to working with the chairman and other policymakers to continue the conversation on how best to achieve our shared national mission of universal service for all Americans."