5/7/2021: Whatever your political affiliation, President Biden’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure investment plan should be welcome news for many wire and cable companies.
The American Jobs Plan infrastructure investment plan promises big expansion in broadband internet and clean energy. The plan calls for $100 billion to bring more affordable and reliable high-speed broadband internet, or wireless broadband via 5G, into rural areas especially, but also urban areas, for 100% coverage across the country. The plan will also increase funding for Community Connect broadband grants, support towns that want to build municipally-owned broadband networks, and make available federally controlled telecom resources like towers, poles, and rights-of-way.
Lack of funding and infrastructure have hampered expansion in the past. The FCC estimates that as many as 42 million Americans don’t have access to high-speed broadband. The shut-in during the pandemic highlighted the importance of people having access to high-speed internet. By removing governmental barriers, Biden’s plan expects to promote competition among internet providers by encouraging companies to increase speed and decrease prices.
Of note, the broadband expansion is opposed by the cable internet industry, which calls Biden’s plan unnecessary. Internet & Television Association CEO Michael Powell said in a statement that America’s current modern digital network has been successful, and that it is wrong to suggest that “the government is better suited than private-sector technologists to build and operate the internet.”
For clean energy, the infrastructure plan extends Investment Tax Credits and Production Tax Credits to incentivize the installation of at least 20 GW of high-voltage-capacity transmission power lines, move the federal vehicle fleet to electric vehicles, and invest $15 billion in climate research and development projects.
How much is actually accomplished is another story, but the bottom line is that a lot of money could be funneled into applications that could accomplish good as well as create more wire and cable business.