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Big Tech Gifted Billions for Broadband

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President Biden and the United States Senate are taking a victory lap for their work on infrastructure legislation and they aren’t the only ones happy with this bill. Big Tech is set to receive a windfall in the order of tens of billions of dollars and this is but one of the many items Peter Schweizer and Eric Eggers discuss on the latest episode of the Drill Down podcast.

The Senate is famous for its gridlock, but there was significant bipartisan support for expanding access to broadband Internet service, particularly in rural and low-income areas. Building on roughly $25 billion allocated for Internet services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate pledged an additional $65 billion to bridge the digital gap.

Almost two-thirds of the extra spending will be given to states to fund broadband infrastructure in under-served areas, particularly rural regions. Despite requiring companies receiving funds from this bill to provide low-cost service plans, some worry that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are too creative for such rules to have any teeth.

Another chunk of that $65 billion will go to expanding existing broadband subsidies—but with a catch. Legislators made the choice to reduce the existing individual subsidy from $50 to $30 in order to reach more people. This means that some who can currently afford broadband access to the Internet may no longer be able to if this bill becomes law as is.

That ironic twist is all too common in Congressional legislation. But at least it’s bipartisan, right?