CWA: “Digital equity is within reach with nationwide participation in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative”
Following the announcement from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that every state and territory in the US will be participating in the Internet for All initiative, CWA applauded President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and the entire NTIA for their comprehensive outreach campaign to ensure no state or territory was left behind.
Internet for All, a key piece of President Biden’s Infrastructure and Jobs Act, is a $65 billion federal program to ensure all Americans have access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet.
“With every corner of the country committed to bringing reliable high-speed internet to every household and business, digital equity in America is within reach,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “CWA has been a leading advocate for this program from the start, and as states begin to develop their plans to utilize this funding, our members and leaders stand ready to be a resource. Our motto has been ‘build broadband better’ and CWA members know how to do just that. We look forward to being a part of the solution to bridging the digital divide and delivering reliable broadband everywhere.”
In addition to providing the funding states and territories need to expand internet access, the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program lays out requirements that effectively address many of CWA’s concerns about the failure of past programs to bring reliable, high speed broadband and good, union jobs to rural and underserved communities.
BEAD funding rules recognize the importance of ensuring that broadband providers and their contractors have proactive plans in place to ensure labor compliance and high quality training, and address the problem of low-road subcontractors in the telecommunications industry. These rules empower states and workers themselves to ensure broadband providers create high quality jobs and respect workers’ rights. Read CWA’s recommendations to states on BEAD program implementation here.
In addition, BEAD rules require states to give preference to fiber technology in deployment grants. CWA has long advocated for fiber-to-the-premise architecture, as it remains the best broadband option when it comes to speed, latency, reliability, and consistency in quality of service. Fiber technology will also ensure that the deployed network can easily scale speeds over time and meet the evolving connectivity needs of households and businesses.
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