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The Week in Internet News: U.S. Broadband Funding Called a ‘Game Changer’

The U.S. government recently announced a new broadband funding program that has been called a ‘game changer’ for internet connectivity in the country. The program, which is part of the infrastructure bill passed by the Senate earlier this year, will provide $65 billion to expand broadband access to millions of Americans who currently lack it.

The funding will be distributed over the next several years, with a focus on underserved areas that have been historically overlooked by broadband providers. The goal is to bring reliable and affordable high-speed internet to more people across the country, particularly in rural and low-income communities.

Experts say that this program has the potential to make a significant impact on the digital divide in the U.S., which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people working and learning from home, access to high-speed internet has become more important than ever. Yet, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), over 30 million Americans still lack access to broadband.

The new funding program aims to address this issue by providing grants to states, tribes, and territories to help build new broadband infrastructure. It will also provide subsidies to low-income households to help them afford internet service, and establish a new program to help fund the construction of networks that will serve rural areas.

Many experts have praised the program as a much-needed step forward in bridging the digital divide in the U.S. Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chairwoman of the FCC, called the funding “a game changer” and said that it would help to “deliver the connectivity that all Americans deserve.”

However, there are also concerns about how the funding will be distributed and whether it will be enough to truly close the digital divide. Some worry that the money will primarily go to large, established broadband providers, rather than smaller, local organizations that may have a better understanding of the needs of their communities.

Others have pointed out that $65 billion may not be enough to truly address the issue. According to some estimates, it could cost upwards of $150 billion to provide broadband access to every American who currently lacks it.

Despite these concerns, most experts agree that the new funding program is a step in the right direction. The digital divide has been a longstanding issue in the U.S., and this program represents a significant investment in closing that gap. It will be important for the government to ensure that the funding is distributed fairly and effectively in order to maximize its impact.

Overall, the new broadband funding program is a positive development for internet connectivity in the U.S. By expanding access to high-speed internet, it has the potential to improve educational and economic opportunities for millions of Americans. While there are still challenges to be overcome, this program represents a major step forward in bridging the digital divide and ensuring that everyone has access to the benefits of the internet.

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