Infrastructure Bill to Spend $65B In Broadband to Close Digital Divide

The new infrastructure bill is setting aside $65 billion dollars to broadband infrastructure deployment making it one of the most significant IT impacts in the bill. Its goal is to provide high-speed internet services at lower costs and close the digital divide, a growing gap between individuals with access to modern communications technology and those without access — often poor, rural, elderly and other underprivileged communities.

In an article by Tech Target, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, founder of analyst firm Deep Analysis, said the bipartisan infrastructure deal is an important one for IT and digital business.

Pelz-Sharpe said the nationwide push toward cloud and mobile work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has further prompted interest in ensuring that all Americans have internet access. Still, the underlying internet infrastructure has not had the investment necessary to support and drive such a transformation, he said.

While roughly 90% of Americans have access to the internet, the speed, quality and cost of that service varies widely, he added.

“Many rural areas are underserved; some remain essentially off the grid,” he said. “Equally, the high cost has meant many are unable to afford it.”

Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, an analyst at Gartner, said the U.S. infrastructure bill addresses three essential areas: availability of broadband, affordability of broadband and ability to use broadband.

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