Funds would go to expanding broadband and 5G connectivity nationwide.
Congress passed the long-awaited infrastructure bill Friday evening with bipartisan support after lengthy negotiations surrounding the bill’s provisions. In addition to being a major political win for President Joe Biden, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also contains fresh funding for expansive technological updates.
Calling it a “once-in-a-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill,” Biden highlighted one of the critical portions of the infrastructure bill: expanding high speed internet access across the country.
“The bill will ... make high-speed internet affordable and available everywhere in America,” he said in comments on Saturday following the bill’s passage.
About $65 billion in federal funding has been allocated toward expanding broadband access and 5G connectivity nationwide. Establishing better broadband infrastructure would give more Americans in every part of the country access to high-speed internet, helping close the digital divide existing between urban and rural areas of the country.
Specifically included in the bill is $42.45 billion for the newly-established Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, which will specifically deploy broadband access in underserved locations. Each state is set to receive $100 million.
Another $2 billion for the Broadband Connectivity Fund, with $2.75 billion going available for Digital Equity grant funding, and $1 billion Middle Mile Deployment broadband funding for rural communities in rural locations.
Other technologies included in the infrastructure bill is the incentivization of information technology in transportation, a sector the Biden administration is looking to optimize. Under a new program dubbed the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation––or SMART grant––qualifying communities will be able to apply for federal funding to modernize its public transit systems by developing new supportive IT infrastructure.