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Biden promises internet for all by 2030

Millions of Americans lack high-speed internet
Millions of Americans still lack high-speed internet access 03:43

Millions of Americans who have been struggling to connect to the internet may soon find it easier  to get online, thanks to an infusion of funding from the federal government approved in late 2021. 

President Joe Biden announced the funding Monday at the White House and promised, "With this funding, along with other federal investments, we're going to be able to connect every person in America to reliable high-speed internet by 2030." 

He compared the immense task of getting everyone in America online to the electrification of farmland throughout the country which took place in the early 20th century. 

The White House says over $40 billion will go to states and tribal territories with the goal of getting every U.S. household and business access to a reliable broadband internet connection. According to the FCC, more than 8.3 million U.S. homes and businesses lack access to high-speed broadband. 

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo talked with senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe about what this means in practical terms. 

"To do a telehealth visit from your kitchen table or let your kids do their homework at home or work from work remotely … tens and millions Americans can't do that now," she said.

 The $42.5 billion allocation is the majority of $65 billion in funding set aside for broadband internet investment outlined in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by Mr. Biden in November 2021. 

Raimondo noted that there are currently about 8.5 million American households that have no internet, but for "tens of millions more people who have the internet,'s really poor quality."

"They may have a satellite connection,...which goes out when the weather's bad or some kind of dial-up," she added. 

"This money can be used, not just to lay the fiber, to connect people unconnected, but also to improve people's service and also for affordability," Raimondo continued. "So, some folks have high-quality internet at $200 a month. And so, what we're saying to the providers is it might as well not exist. People can't afford $200 a month, right? So the money is to lay the fiber, but also to make sure everyone has high-quality affordable internet."

The announcement is welcome news for state broadband offices across the country. Each state will be allocated a minimum of $107 million, with additional awards ranging from $27 million to over $3.3 billion, depending on their need, according to a White House fact sheet. Texas is slated to receive the largest award of $3.3 billion. California, Missouri, Michigan and North Carolina will be awarded over $1.5 billion each.

While Monday's announcement is being celebrated by advocates for broadband internet access and expansion, arriving at this moment presented some challenges.

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) was tasked with allocating the funds in part by relying on data from an Federal Communications Commission map that has gone through a series of updates. 

CBS News spoke with several broadband internet state directors in the months before the announcement who expressed frustration with the map, pointing to shortcomings ranging from missing locations to overstated connectivity. Concerns about the reliability of the FCC's map previously led to some lawmakers and broadband proponents to ask the NTIA to delay its end of June 2023 deadline for funding allocation, which the agency refused

However, in a blog post earlier this month, the Commerce Department touted the most recent version of the FCC's map as the "most accurate depiction of broadband availability" in the FCC's history.

Broadband advocates like Rob Fish in Vermont, who expressed concern over the FCC's mapping process, are now hopeful about moving forward with implementation plans. 

"We're so grateful for all the work Vermonters did challenging inaccurate information on the FCC map, and now we're excited to come together to develop a plan for the distribution of almost $230 million in BEAD funds," said Vermont Community Broadband Board deputy director Rob Fish.  Thanks to that work and the work of the VCBB, our allocation is likely up to $50 million more than it would have been otherwise!" 

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