New Broadband Plan Will “Bern” Telecoms

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Democratic Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has a plan in which he promises to deliver high-speed broadband to everyone by building out “resilient, modern infrastructure.”

He also calls for providing $150 billion through infrastructure grants and technical assistance for municipalities and/or states “to build publicly-owned” cooperative or open access networks. Sanders would condition the grants for the Universal Service Fund, setting minimum speeds, privacy standards and affordability.

His plan would also: “Establish a dedicated, accelerated last-mile fund through the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service to provide capital funding to connect all remote rural households and businesses and upgrade outdated technology and infrastructure, prioritizing funding for existing co-ops and small rural utilities.” In addition, $7.5 billion of this funding would be used to expand high-speed broadband in Indian country and dedicate resources to the FCC’s Office of Native Affairs & Policy.

Sanders would preempt 19 state laws that limit or bar municipal and publicly-owned broadband. “Municipalities across the country running their own internet services have proved they can deliver high-quality service at a fraction of the price of established monopolies,” the proposal states. Sanders also promises to break up media monopolies and restore net neutrality.

December 10, 2019

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