Progressive critics worry the bipartisan infrastructure bill's broadband money is a handout to telecom giants

AT&T.
(Image credit: CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The American Prospect's David Dayen is not optimistic that President Biden's agenda will, as it intends to, "take back government from corporate domination." His wariness stems from the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure bill, specifically the broadband access section.

In the earlier phases of the negotiations, the proposal contained provisions angling to ensure competition in the broadband, Dayen writes. Those included increasing minimum internet speeds, prioritizing publicly-owned broadband and co-ops, and reversing state laws that restrict publicly-owned broadband. But none of those made it into the final version of the bill, which Dayen argues means telecom giants like AT&T and Comcast "can capture" the funding from the bill "without meaningful broadband adoption in unserved or underserved areas."

There are some provisions Dayen likes, such as one that mandates the Federal Communications Commission to prevent "digital redlining" (meaning providers can't pick and choose which neighborhoods to build out), but he doesn't believe it's enough to limit the monopolization of the market. "Maybe a little less money will be wasted when compared to previous federal broadband efforts," Dayen writes. But, he adds, "the structure of the heavily monopolized market remains intact; Congress failed to engage in any meaningful structural reform." Read more at The American Prospect.

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