Biden Proposes Adding $600M MORE to the $2B Recently Allocated for USDA Rural Utilities Broadband Program

By B.N. Frank

According to a lawsuit filed by a group of telecom experts who call themselves “The Irregulators,” Americans have already paid for telecom-related services that many have still not received including high speed broadband via fiber optics and copper landlines.  Additionally, for decades, Americans have also been overcharged for telecom-related services and we are still being overcharged (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  Despite this having been proven, federal and state government agencies and legislators continue to commit more taxpayer money to telecom companies (see 1, 2) which they are using to primarily deploy inferior and unsafe Wi-Fi and 5G for broadband (see 1, 2, 3) instead of safer, more secure, and more reliable fiber optics to the premises (FTTP) and copper landline connections.  Now Biden wants to give telecoms $600M more.

From Fierce Telecom:

Biden budget seeks over $600M to boost broadband

By Diana Goovaerts

If passed, the budget would build on the $2 billion recently allocated to the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November 2021. (OlegAlbinsky_iStock_Getty Images Plus)

U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled a proposed budget for the government’s fiscal year 2023 which contains more than $600 million in additional funding for broadband, money meant to help achieve the administration’s goal of connecting every citizen.

The budget requests $28.5 billion in funding for the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This figure includes $600 million for the agency’s ReConnect program, which offers loans and grants to help operators cover underserved parts of the country. The budget total also includes another $25 million for the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) program “to help rural telecommunications cooperatives refinance” their debt and upgrade their facilities. The ReConnect program is run by the RUS.

If passed, the budget would build on the $2 billion recently allocated to the RUS in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in November 2021. Earlier this month, the ReConnect program closed the application window for its third funding round, which is set to dole out $1.15 billion in support. According to its website, ReConnect has distributed a total of $1.5 billion to date via its first two funding rounds.


Rural electric co-ops are the fastest growing group of broadband providers

Biden’s budget contains several other telecom-related expenditures, though these are less definitively focused directly on broadband deployments than the allocation for the USDA. For instance, an allocation for the Department of State includes $350 million “to expand reliable and affordable internet access through the development and deployment of secure digital and technological infrastructure.”

It also requests $11.7 billion for the Department of Commerce to “complement major investments in broadband Internet access and climate resilience” made by the IIJA. This includes $13 million for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to conduct research and engineering of “cutting-edge advanced communications” systems.


Broadband gets $65 billion in U.S. infrastructure bill – here’s what happens next

And finally, the budget seeks $880 million for the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships to speed development of technology in key areas, including “advanced communications.”

However, Biden’s budget proposal is just that: a proposal. Congress will spend the coming months hashing out the details of its own spending priorities, which will likely differ significantly from the president’s.

President Biden’s full budget proposal can be found here.

Activist Post reports regularly about Big Telecom, government corruption, and unsafe technology.  For more information visit our archives and the following websites.

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