Sanders Announces $150B Plan to Expand Broadband Access

Ruben Fields
December 8, 2019

"Just as President Roosevelt fundamentally made America more equal by bringing electricity to every farm and rural community over 80 years ago, as president, I will do the same with high-speed internet", Sanders said. The Democratic presidential candidate announced the plan today, which not only calls to treat the internet like a public utility, but it would also mandate service providers to offer basic broadband plans at affordable prices, CNBC reports.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont, is polling second or third in most national opinion polls on the Democratic race, behind former Vice President Joe Biden and alongside fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren of MA.

With municipality-run services, the city either partners with a provider like Google Fiber to distribute internet access through a city-owned system or the city owns its own network outright.

And, this being Bernie Sanders, he had some strong words for some of the large internet service providers, who Sanders says, "exploit their dominant market power to gouge consumers and lobby government at all levels to keep out competition". Specifically, Sanders said the Internet and access to it should be "a public good for all, not another price gouging profit machine for Comcast, AT&T and Verizon".

The plan Sanders has drawn up involves antitrust authorities taking action to dismantle the "internet service provider and cable monopolies" that are now in play in the United States and would see the reinstatement of the net neutrality regulation that was repealed in June previous year.

Former VP Joe Biden: $20 billion for broadband infrastructure. He proposes offering $150 billion in infrastructure grants to support these "publicly owned and democratically controlled" broadband networks.

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Other Democratic leaders have broadband plans, but Sanders "is more radical and expensive than his rivals".

Sanders also wants to set aside $7.5 billion to increase high-speed broadband in Native American communities nationwide and increase funding for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Native Affairs and Policy.

Democratic candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg have also released plans to expand rural Internet service.

Sanders said he would use existing antitrust laws to take on the cable giants and break them up.

Sanders wants to change this. And a public broadband option to drive down prices.

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