What the Biden infrastructure plan will mean for rural broadband
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The infrastructure plan proposed by President Joe Biden would include a $100 billion investment in expanding broadband and high-speed internet.
According to the South Dakota Action plan in the White House’s proposed infrastructure package, 13% of residents live in areas without broadband service, and 48% live in areas where there’s only one internet provider.
Vernon Brown with SDN Communications, a South Dakota internet provider, said that a broadband expansion is needed. He adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has showcased the need for universal high-speed internet.
“Children working from home during the times when the schools were closed, elderly people who maybe couldn’t go into their doctor’s office but could visit with their doctor over their laptop or their iPad or event their cell phone, all demonstrate the reasons why we have to have every American connected,” Brown said.
South Dakota’s congressional delegation, and Republicans at large, have criticized the proposal as a massive federal government expansion. Senator John Thune, however, said that broadband infrastructure is needed.
He said that any investment in broadband infrastructure should be focused on providing to rural areas.
“You want to continue to encourage buildout in areas as the speeds go up, the download speeds get faster,” Thune said. “But there are still areas that aren’t served in South Dakota. So, if the goal is to deal with underserved areas, then you need to make sure those resources are targeted on getting dollars to those areas.”
The President has said that he hopes the plan can bring reliable and affordable high-speed internet to every family in America.
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