Democrats Propose Funding for High-Speed Internet for All

  • Congressional Progressive Caucus
  • Millions of Jobs Coalition
WASHINGTON — On May 25, 2017, congressional Democrats and a coalition of progressive organizations representing millions of Americans kicked off the long-anticipated infrastructure fight, launching a massive campaign to create millions of new jobs that includes making high-speed internet accessible to every American home.

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the grassroots Millions of Jobs Coalition rolled out a plan to create millions of jobs through $2 trillion in public investment over 10 years, including an investment of $150 billion to expand high-speed broadband internet access to every American home. The plan would invest heavily in new internet networks for rural and low-income communities, grant tax credits to boost adoption in urban areas, and create an innovative 10-city optic fiber pilot program.

New Access for Rural Communities
“Our plan will expand economic opportunity by bringing high-speed internet access to all Americans, including new access for rural communities and incentives to increase adoption in low-income communities," said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA17). "By doing so, we will help create millions of new jobs and start ups in rural America, in tribal areas, and in urban centers that have yet to see the gains of the technology revolution.”

“Now is the time for a direct and bold federal investment in jobs and infrastructure, addressing everything from roads and bridges to broadband, public rail, to our crumbling schools, and energy grid," said Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2).

$50 Billion in Direct Funding and Municipal Grants
The plan, authored by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA33), would invest $50 billion in direct funding and municipal grants to build out Internet networks in communities that have been left behind by corporate Internet service providers, including low-population rural areas and high-density, low-income housing developments. An additional $60 billion would allocated to close the “adoption gap” by granting annual tax credits for high-speed Internet to the approximately 45 million households nationwide whose incomes fall below $35,000 a year. It would be paid for by making Wall Street, giant corporations, and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.

"This progressive infrastructure plan recognizes what most Americans already know, that high-speed broadband Internet access is critical to full participation in our society and our economy,” said Gigi Sohn, counselor to the the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under President Obama. “Greater and smarter investment in broadband leads to more jobs, greater economic opportunity and increased consumer welfare. Importantly, the plan recognizes that local government and the private sector both play an important role in closing the digital divide. This plan will bring us closer to ensuring that all Americans receive the benefits of all that broadband enables.”

Approximately 25 percent of Americans do not subscribe to broadband service at home, either because it is unavailable or unaffordable. Forty percent of people in rural communities lack access to high-speed broadband internet. Expanding high-speed internet to a local community has significant positive effects on local job creation, small business startups, wages and incomes, property values and community renewal.

“Free Press Action Fund commends these progressive legislators for proposing policies that create new jobs and new economic opportunity by narrowing the digital divide and making affordable Internet access a reality for millions of Americans,” said Craig Aaron, Free Press Action Fund president and CEO, a Millions of Jobs Coalition member. “By bringing high-speed broadband internet to places it isn't available, more people will be able to find jobs, start their own businesses, and get an education.”

The Millions of Jobs Coalition includes the Free Press Action Fund, Communications Workers of America, Center for Popular Democracy, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, ColorOfChange, Working Families Party,, Sierra Club, NextGen Climate, 350 Action, Demos Action, and others.


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