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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: How President Biden’s Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Will Help Close the Digital Divide


The historic passage of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) will help to ensure we close the digital divide and that every American has access to high quality, affordable broadband. The Commerce Department and its National Telecommunications and Information Administration will play a pivotal role in carrying out this ambitious goal by allocating $48 billion to expand broadband in communities across the U.S., creating more low-cost high-speed broadband service options, subsidizing the cost of service for low-income households, and providing funding to address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.

The passing of this landmark legislation has been met with widespread praise from a diverse group of industry experts and stakeholders as well as public officials from both sides of the aisle.

See below for what they are saying:  

Arkansas Governor and National Governors Association Chairman Asa Hutchinson and Vice Chairman Governor Phil Murphy: “This historic investment will help fund states and territories’ core infrastructure priorities including: $300 billion in funding to state highway projects and programs; $73 billion investment in clean energy transmission upgrades; $40 billion in grants to states for broadband deployment and to make broadband more accessible for low-income families in rural and urban communities alike; and $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion for airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. This vital legislation should be sent to the President’s desk as soon as possible so that states and territories can deploy these crucial infrastructure funds.”
[Statement, 11/7/21]

Chris Lewis, President and CEO of Public Knowledge: “This bipartisan infrastructure package makes great first strides in making broadband more available and affordable for millions of consumers across the country. However, the reduction of the low-income broadband subsidy from $50 to $30 is disappointing. States should ensure that their low-cost option takes this reduction into account. In addition to the investment in the infrastructure package, Congress should prioritize passage of the reconciliation package, which contains key elements for broadband adoption. Public Knowledge supports keeping the provision in the reconciliation package that funds digital equity outreach to consumers, as well as the benefit for devices for low-income households that don’t have the computers or tablets, which are needed to fully connect to work, education, and other essential broadband uses. [Statement, 11/6/21]  

Angela Siefer, executive director of National Digital Inclusion Alliance

“This moment is unprecedented. Not only is the funding an incredible down payment on digital equity, it is an acknowledgment of two decades of grassroots efforts to bridge the digital divide. NDIA and our community will make the most of this moment.
[Statement, November 6, 2021]

Susan Corbett, Director of National Digital Equity Center, National Digital Inclusion Alliance: “The pandemic has shown how real the digital divide is in our great State, and how important it is to ensure that every home has a robust broadband connection. The historic passing of the Digital Equity Act will advance digital equity and inclusion by increasing access to broadband, computers and devices, and expanding digital literacy training for every person in Maine and the nation.” [Statement, 11/6/21]

Hispanic Federation: We applaud Congress & @POTUS on passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. The critical investment it will make in our communities will create millions of jobs that will put Latinos, and all Americans, on a path to be competitive in the 21st century. [Tweet, 11/6/21]

Sarah Morris, Director of New America’s Open Technology Institute: “The Investment and Jobs Act is a historic step forward for broadband access, affordability, and equity. Millions of people across the country have been on the wrong side of the digital divide for too long, putting their livelihoods at risk in an era when internet access is a must. This investment in broadband infrastructure and affordability has the potential to be truly transformative. We are particularly relieved to see that the Emergency Broadband Benefit created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue in the form of the more permanent Affordable Connectivity Program, especially given the role high prices play in especially preventing low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribes from getting online.” [Statement, 11/6/21]

Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP): “The bill includes critical cross-sector investments that help to guarantee an equitable economic recovery by serving as a blueprint to rebuild America — creating good paying jobs, addressing the climate crisis, and extending digital opportunity to every home with $65 billion earmarked for broadband deployment and affordability. The [Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal] is a significant bipartisan effort that provides states and local communities with the tools and resources necessary to reimagine the way that essential services are made available and delivers on the President’s promise to jump start the economy with a dedicated focus on equity, opportunity, and choice.” [Statement, 11/6/21]  

Matt Wood, Free Press Action Vice President of Policy and General Counsel: “The affordability provisions in the infrastructure bill represent a historic milestone. Never before have we seen such a meaningful congressional investment in closing the digital divide for people who may already have high-speed internet networks available in their neighborhoods, but who still cannot afford to connect.” [Statement, 11/5/21]  

Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA): “…The bill will bring another unprecedented investment into Indian Country with around $15 Billion in direct funding. The new legislation will aim to address and revamp various infrastructure issues in Native American communities…Tribal Nations will also see funding in bridge investment, broadband connectivity, healthcare infrastructure, and cybersecurity.” [Statement]

Chanda Causer, Co-Executive Director of Main Street Alliance: “With the passage of the IIJA and continued legislative movement on Build Back Better, we are on the precipice of a more equitable economy… The Infrastructure Act’s critical investment in our roads, bridges, and broadband networks, particularly important for our rural small businesses, is needed to rebuild the economy.” [Statement, 11/6/21]  

John Arensmeyer, Founder and CEO of Small Business Majority: “Sending the bipartisan infrastructure bill to President Biden’s desk is good news for small businesses because physical infrastructure reform will support access to customers and suppliers, enhance business operations, and create demand for the goods and services small businesses have to sell. Our polling has found that the vast majority (79%) of small businesses support improving our nation’s physical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and airports. Additionally, the bipartisan bill includes investments in expanding and enhancing broadband access. Seventy-six percent of small businesses say expanding broadband access is critical to improving business operations and supporting the growing number of online customers and suppliers they built during the pandemic.” [Statement, 11/5/21]

UnidosUS: “The #BIF will create millions of jobs and help expand broadband access to Latinos living in America’s rural communities. Along with the #BuildBackBetter Act, these investments are a transformative step towards real progress for our country. The onus is now on the House to pass the #BuildBackBetter Act and for the Senate to do the same. Equitable progress for Latino families depends on it.” [Tweet, 11/8/21]

Rhett Buttle, Senior Advisor for Small Business for America’s Future: “Small businesses welcome investment in our roads, bridges, broadband, and other community resources. This key investment will provide support to millions of small business owners who rely on physical and technological infrastructure every day and could not come at a more pressing time. Our survey found that 74% of small business owners believe economic investments like the infrastructure bill are important amid the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and expiration of previous relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).”

Chip Pickering and Mignon Clyburn, co-chairs of the Broadland USA campaign, INCOMPAS: “With Congress in agreement on a historic investment in new networks it is imperative that our nation build broadband right, right now. Building broadband right means investing in future proof networks that deliver faster speeds and lower prices. Building broadband right means every community has the necessary broadband infrastructure that will support fixed and mobile access. No family, no community and no neighborhood will be denied the internet access they need to succeed and secure the jobs of the future. Building broadband right means we correct the mistakes of the past, rejecting monopoly policy and unleashing the power of competition - proven to bring more investment, innovation and affordability to consumers and small businesses. Now is the time to build broadband right, and we have no time to waste.”  [11/6/21]

Jonathan Spalter, President and CEO of USTelecom: “…If you boil it down, this plan is actually the federal government (working with states) smartly leveraging nearly two trillion dollars, relentless innovation, expertise, and the sweat equity of broadband providers in every corner of the country over the past 25 years. It recognizes the private model of broadband deployment in the United States – with targeted public support in unserved or hard to reach communities – is the key to achieving 100 percent connectivity.” [Statement, 11/5/21]

Matthew M. Polka, America Communications Association (ACA) Connects President and CEO: “ACA Connects appreciates the U.S. House of Representatives’ work to address the broadband needs of consumers across the country. Our member companies, who provide broadband service to urban and rural customers in all 50 states, know just how vital broadband is.” [Statement, 11/5/21]  

Steven K. Berry Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) President & CEO: “I applaud the House for passing the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act of 2021 by bipartisan vote. The legislation contains important provisions designed to enhance broadband accessibility for all Americans, especially those in rural, unserved, and underserved areas. Wireless is the choice of consumers, and upon signature by the President, I look forward to working with policymakers to ensure areas in need have access to critical funding that will provide consumers with the mobile connectivity they need and desire.”

Todd Washam, Director of Government Relations and Wireless Industry Network, NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association: “NATE members are eager to work with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and state broadband agencies to leverage this historic funding for broadband deployment. NATE also encourages state agencies to invest in critical workforce development programs to ensure we can meet our national broadband goals.”

Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA): “WISPA congratulates the U.S. Congress for passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA), which provides $65 billion of Federal support for broadband deployment, affordability and middle-mile funding. This landmark piece of bi-partisan legislation will help community-based and Tribal providers get all Americans online, bridging the stubborn digital divide which thwarts the prosperity and welfare of millions who go without internet access.” [Statement, 11/6/21]

Mike Sievert, T-Mobile CEO: “Congrats to @POTUS and Congress on the infrastructure bill. This investment in broadband access & 5G home internet will help connect families across the country - including in rural & underserved areas. Closing the digital divide has been & will remain a priority for T-Mobile.” [Tweet, 11/8/21]

Sena Fitzmaurice, Senior Vice President, Government Communications, Comcast Corporation: “Congress and the Biden Administration should be applauded for passage of the momentous infrastructure bill. This legislation will bring meaningful investments and jobs across the country and marks a major bipartisan effort to tackle digital equity and access in America, recognizing that broadband is a critical part of 21st century infrastructure. The provisions in the final act appropriately focus on getting broadband infrastructure first to areas where it does not currently exist, while at the same time continuing to promote faster speeds and disincentivizing duplicative projects. The bill also provides important resources to spur broadband adoption. Allowing local communities flexibility and valuing both private and publicly funded projects will be key to closing the digital divide.”

Lumen: “The Bipartisan #InfrastructureBill offers a tremendous opportunity to expand fiber networks & close America’s #digitaldivide. We look forward to working with federal & state policymakers on the best ways to implement this historic #broadband funding. @potus @commercegov” [Tweet, 11/6/21]

American Tower: American Tower applauds Congress and the Administration for including an unprecedented $65 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to ensure all Americans have access to broadband. We appreciate the bipartisan recognition that both wireline and wireless solutions are needed to close the digital divide throughout this great nation.