The main objective of the broadband portion of the bill is to bring high-speed internet to “unserved and underserved rural, suburban, and urban communities,” as well as adequate support for it, according to a Moving Forward Act fact sheet from the Department of Transportation. It prioritizes remote learning for children by providing digital equipment and outfitting school buses and school libraries with Wi-Fi. The bill also provides broadband payment support for low-income households and the recently unemployed.
The full version of the Moving Forward Act isn’t likely to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. However, the broadband-related amendments may still have a chance, said Matt Wood, President of Policy and General Counsel at Free Press Action, a media advocacy group. “People in cities and rural areas alike need better broadband at better prices, no matter their party or politics,” Wood said.
The bill is just one of many recent efforts by the government to close the “digital divide.” In February 2019, President Donald Trump unveiled the American Broadband Initiative aimed at bringing broadband to rural America. Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission committed $20.4 billion to the same end.