Billions in Taxpayer Funded Subsidies for Broadband Unnecessary to Expand Internet Connectivity

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A bipartisan group of United States Senators introduced the Broadband Reform and Investment to Drive Growth in the Economy Act (BRIDGE Act), which would authorize $40 billion in taxpayer subsidies aimed at expanding broadband Internet access.

CEI Research Fellow Ryan Nabil said:

“Sponsors of the bipartisan BRIDGE Act want to allocate $40 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies to improve internet access for Americans. But recent increases in broadband investment and improvements in Internet connectivity suggest that Internet access can be greatly expanded without subsidies. Lawmakers in both parties and Biden Administration should instead focus on removing regulatory barriers that interfere with private companies’ efforts to attract customers by investing in broadband networks and improving Internet speed.

“Policymakers should be cautious about significantly increasing government spending in light of growing inflation risks for the U.S. economy. While the goals of the BRIDGE Act and its sponsors are laudable, their approach is less likely to improve Internet connectivity than simply removing unneeded regulatory barriers to investment.”

Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin said:

“Just throwing more money at the problem won’t close the digital divide. Distorting the market with federal funds isn’t the answer for taxpayers or for those in need of Internet connectivity.”