Biden’s $42.5B Rural Broadband Plan Mired In Red Tape

( – Individuals and businesses in rural areas are massively struggling to get internet access despite President Joe Biden’s three-year-old $42.5 billion program that promised to provide internet connections to these areas.

In November 2021, Biden passed the funding, but persisting red tape in the government has made the availability of funds impossible, which prevents the project from starting even in 2024.

Lawmakers believe that the plan would only be translated into reality somewhere next year due to the cumbersome requirements like environmental regulations and legal requirements for hiring union workers and so-called “justice-impacted” people, a soft-hearted term for criminals, who will install the broadband connections.

The Department of Commerce, which is responsible for distributing funds for the start of the program, is also trying to regulate internet consumption rates for rural users, but conservative lawmakers and internet companies believe that the department is not authorized to do this under the law. With such complications, the law can also go to court, which will further delay its implementation.

According to the Commissioner of Federal Communications, Brendan Carr, the dream to make internet access possible in rural areas seems impossible to fully materialize before 2030.

Currently, rural areas of Washington D.C. and nine states are eligible to get broadband connections under the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program that gets its funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. All 50 states have submitted proposals to get their share in the funding.

Meanwhile, Alan Davidson, who led the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Commerce Department, claimed that the last two years were well utilized in the “planning and preparation” of the program and that 2024 is the year of “execution.” However, no development has happened in the first six months of 2024.

Carr has also accused NTIA of delaying the approval process of the states into the program, claiming that the administration is overly focused on progressive ideas, which is making broadband accessibility difficult for rural residents. Elon Musk also criticized the very existence of the program.

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