Warren makes $85B federally-funded broadband promise
As part of her bid for the presidency, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has made some bold proposals to improve access to broadband in underserved areas, and has made it clear that restoring net neutrality is also among her priorities. She proposes $85 billion to cover the enormous costs of making sure “every home in America has a fiber broadband connection at a price families can afford.”
The proposal is part of a greater plan to “invest in rural America” that Sen. Warren detailed in a blog post. As well as promises relating to healthcare, housing and labor, the presidential hopeful dedicated a section to “A Public Option for Broadband.”
This isn’t “broadband as utility,” as some have called for over the years, but rather a massive subsidy program to multiply and diversify internet services in rural areas, hopefully bringing them to the speeds and reliability available in cities.
Before announcing her own plan, she criticized the outcomes of earlier subsidies, like the FCC’s $2 billion Connect America Fund II:
[ISPs] have deliberately restricted competition, kept prices high, and used their armies of lobbyists to convince state legislatures to ban municipalities from building their own public networks. Meanwhile, the federal government has shoveled billions of taxpayer dollars to private ISPs in an effort to expand broadband to remote areas, but those providers have done the bare minimum with these resources — offering internet speeds well below the FCC minimum.
Her alternative is to shovel billions to everyone but ISPs to improve internet infrastructure.
“Only electricity and telephone coope