Democratic candidate for President Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan to sets aside $150 billion to build up the U.S. internet infrastructure and provider Internet Access to everyone in the U.S.
This money is more than enough to build out the U.S. fiber footprint to pass every house in the U.S. A 2012 report from Goldman Sachs indicated it would cost $140 billion to roll out fiber optic internet to the entire country. The cost of fiber deployment has dropped since then, suggesting Sanders Plan is more than capable of achieving the goal of internet access for all.
According to Sanders’ campaign website, his new Internet for All plan will:
Provide $150 billion through the Green New Deal in infrastructure grants and technical assistance for municipalities and/or states to build publicly owned and democratically controlled, co-operative, or open access broadband networks.
Not only can these funds bring internet access to all areas of the country, but they also bring down internet access costs across the country. We’ve recently covered the broadband monopoly situation in the U.S. Sanders plan will allow areas without internet provider competition to fund a local public ISP to increase competition and bring down prices.
The U.S. cable and telecom lobby are strong, and they have used that strength to get laws on the books protecting ISPs from public ISP competition. Sanders plan indicates it will:
Preempt the 19 state laws, primarily written and lobbied for by internet service provider monopolies, that limit or bar municipal and publicly-owned broadband.
Some may bulk at the $150 billion price-tag. However, if we assume the funds are doled out over five years, we are looking at $30 billion a year. While a lot of money to the average person, it’s less than 1% of the federal budget (.7% to be exact). That seems like a small price to pay for something benefitting every citizen.
Furthermore, to guarantee the funds are used to deliver quality high-speed internet, the plan will increase the definition of broadband to 100 Mbps. The plan has other provisions, as well. For example:
- Reinstate Net Neutrality under Title II to eliminate data caps and ban throttling
- Ban cable and internet providers from using hidden fees, unexpected rate increases, and service termination fees.
- Reinstate and expand privacy protection rules
- Conduct a national broadband census and create a comprehensive, accurate broadband map of access, speeds, and prices.