US President Joe Biden reached an agreement with Senate leaders on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending plan, a package set to create new opportunities for network operators through $65 billion in funding for broadband.
The proposal involves using some of the proceeds from 5G spectrum auctions to fund federal investments in broadband infrastructure, and would also call on state and local governments to invest.
The White House stated the plan makes “transformational and historic investments” in “universal broadband infrastructure”.
President Biden cannot sign the legislation until it has been passed by Congress, with the Senate aiming to vote on the bipartisan plan next month.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the larger body of Congress will not vote on the bill until after the Senate has also approved an additional spending package.
Network operators are hopeful. Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of The Rural Broadband Association, praised the politicians for working “diligently” to improve digital infrastructure. “As a final plan is further defined and comes together, I urge policymakers to aim high and invest in future-proof fibre technology built to last”.
Policymakers and network equipment vendors are currently exploring the efficacy of fixed wireless access (FWA) as one way to bring broadband to more parts of rural areas. Operators of FWA networks could be eligible for future government funding if their solutions meet the required speed and reliability parameters.
WISPA, a trade organisation representing FWA service providers and their vendors backed the legislation, urging politicians to “invite the widest palette of solutions” and “provide more spectrum to small innovators”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back