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$100 Billion “Universal Fiber” Plan Proposed by Congress

Accepted submission by NotSanguine http://{NotSanguine} {at} {SoylentNews.Org} at 2020-06-27 21:14:29 from the let-them-have-bits dept.

John Brodkin over at Ars Technica is reporting on a []House bill [] which would allocate USD$100 billion for high speed (100mb/sec or higher) fiber to the home (FTTH) [] infrastructure.

The bill also addresses state laws blocking municipal and public/private broadband.

from the article []:

House Democrats yesterday unveiled a $100 billion broadband plan that's gaining quick support from consumer advocates.

"The House has a universal fiber broadband plan we should get behind," Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Legislative Counsel Ernesto Falcon wrote in a blog post []. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) announced [] the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act [], saying it has more than 30 co-sponsors and "invests $100 billion to build high-speed broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities and ensure that the resulting Internet service is affordable." The bill text is available here [] [PDF].

In addition to federal funding for broadband networks with speeds of at least 100Mbps downstream and upstream, the bill would eliminate state laws that prevent the growth of municipal broadband. There are currently 19 states [] [PDF] with such laws. The Clyburn legislation targets those states with this provision:

No State statute, regulation, or other State legal requirement may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting any public provider, public-private partnership provider, or cooperatively organized provider from providing, to any person or any public or private entity, advanced telecommunications capability or any service that utilizes the advanced telecommunications capability provided by such provider.

The bill also has a Dig Once requirement that says fiber or fiber conduit must be installed "as part of any covered highway construction project" in states that receive federal highway funding. Similar Dig Once mandates have been proposed repeatedly over the years and gotten close to becoming US law, but never quite made it past the finish line.

So Soylentils, Do you have high-speed (100+mb/sec) broadband in your area? If not, what steps have your state/local government taken to get it or, alternatively, block it?

Should the Senate majority support legislation like this? If so, why? If not, why not?

Original Submission