U.S. Congress, Coronavirus Relief Deal, and Broadband

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Congress and a stimulus package

Last year, more precisely on December 20, lawmakers reached a $900 billion coronavirus relief deal. It is worth mentioning that, the deal includes billions in funding for broadband internet access. People should take into account that, the latest relief measure provides $7 billion in funding for broadband connectivity and infrastructure.

Importantly, that figure includes $3.2 billion for a $50-per-month emergency broadband benefit for people who are laid off or furloughed during the pandemic. Broadband connections are essential for Americans seeking to get new jobs and to access school, etc.

Moreover, the coronavirus relief bill also includes $1.9 billion to remove Huawei as well as ZTE equipment from U.S. networks. As a reminder, the regulator officially designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats. As a result, the FCC banned U.S. companies from purchasing the equipment with government money. Importantly, the agency moved to require U.S. telecom operators to remove and replace any Huawei and ZTE equipment currently deployed in their networks.

The importance of broadband

Hopefully, the deal also includes $1 billion in Tribal broadband grants, $250 million toward telehealth, as well as $65 million for broadband mapping improvements. As a reminder, the U.S.’s broadband maps have the target of criticism for years. Interestingly, the FCC’s current methodology declares an entire ZIP code as having broadband if just one home in that census block receives services.

The coronavirus pandemic caused a lot of problems, lawmakers should continue to support Americans. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy to solve all problems in a short period of time. Joe Biden should join forces with lawmakers and experts to make the internet more accessible across the country. This way it will be easier to solve issues created by the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, the U.S. should work with neighbouring countries to provide internet across the region.

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