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Next Century Cities Applauds the Passage of the Landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment Bill

You can find a PDF of this press release here.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brittany-Rae Gregory
brittany-rae@nextcenturycities.org
November 15, 2021

Washington, D.C. (November 15, 2021) On November 5th, the U. S. House of Representatives passed the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which President Biden will sign into law today. The bipartisan legislation designates $65 billion for broadband programs, enabling state and municipal efforts to increase reliable Internet access for residents. It will also support digital inclusion initiatives that promote broadband adoption across the country. 

The Bill’s provisions support: 

  • FCC community outreach programs aimed at educating the public on Lifeline and the Emergency Broadband Benefit; 
  • NTIA grants for middle-mile deployment projects and public-private partnerships that increase affordable broadband access in urban communities;
  • Grants for NTIA’s community partners to distribute devices to low-income households for free or at reduced rates; 
  • Resources for broadband deployment on Tribal lands;
  • The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund, a program that enables schools and libraries to provide broadband service for students and library patrons;
  • Grants aimed at implementing and maintaining Next Gen 911 networks; and
  • New safeguards against digital redlining and labeling requirements for consumer broadband service offerings and prices.

Ryan Johnston, Policy Counsel for Federal Programs at Next Century Cities, offered the following remarks: 

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a landmark piece of legislation that provides once-in-a-generation funding to states and municipalities for new and existing broadband projects. For the first time, Congress has taken a more holistic approach to combat the digital divide with a bill that addresses digital access, low adoption, literacy training, and affordability. 

“Until now, each part of the digital divide has been addressed piecemeal. And often municipalities found themselves worried that participation in one federal program could jeopardize their eligibility in another. As the federal agencies work to implement these new programs, we hope that they will continue to tap local and state leaders as partners who are uniquely qualified to address persistent gaps in connectivity.

“We are also pleased with the National Telecommunications Information Administration’s (NTIA) role in developing funding opportunities. It has a long history of working closely with states and localities. We are optimistic that NTIA will continue to solicit input from local officials on infrastructure that connects communities nationwide.”

The Bill will be signed into law today. In September 2021, Johnston detailed how the legislation would impact broadband access and adoption for states and municipalities. Read the blog post here

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