White House says infrastructure deal includes $65 billion for broadband

After weeks of heated discussions, bipartisan Senate negotiators came to an agreement on Wednesday regarding an infrastructure package. According to the White House, the package contains billions of dollars in new funding. It also includes more money to connect all households to high-speed internet.Over the next eight years, the Senate's infrastructure package will be worth approximately $1.2 trillion with $559 billion in new spending. The White House released a press release Wednesday detailing the contents of the bill. It focuses on infrastructure issues such as roads, bridges and EV charging. According to the White House, the package contains a $65 billion investment that will ensure every American has reliable, high-speed Internet access.This funding will enable telecom companies to offer affordable, low-cost internet plans.The funding will allow telecom companies to provide low-cost, affordable internet plans to customers and easy comparison shopping among providers. The bill text is still unwritten, and it's unclear how the new broadband investment will be delegated.This figure of $65 billion is considerably lower than the original proposal by President Joe Biden last March. Initial goals of the administration were to increase broadband spending by $100 billion and include language that prioritizes networks associated with local governments, nonprofits, cooperatives.Wednesday's announcement by the White House included language from the Digital Equity Act, which would create a permanent program that would subsidize broadband costs for low-income families and a new program that will help to pay for devices such as tablets and laptops.The Senate is expected to vote on the package tonight. However, the Federal Communications Commission (the agency responsible for broadband expansion) still lacks a permanent leader. Ajit Pai, the former FCC Chair, resigned earlier this year. The agency is now stuck with two Republicans, and two Democrats. Biden has not yet appoint either a fifth commissioner, or formally appointed a permanent chair.