States Can Decide Whether they Want to Follow Low Cost Federal Broadband Guidelines

  • TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FLV) – The Biden Administration has suggested certain guidelines to create low-cost broadband services to residents, but States will not be required to follow them. States are free to create their own affordable internet plans and not exactly follow the example laid out by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunication and Information Administration.

    The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed by President Biden, is said to provide high-speed broadband throughout the country in order to boost education, the economy and health. The suggested guidelines are part of The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, a $42 billion effort to build broadband networks and subsidize internet services for low-income households, to ensure low cost broadband services to resident.

    The program model suggests that the states follow their example for cost caps, service characteristics, affordable connectivity benefits and technical upgrades. A specific example is provided by the Federal government including capping internet service costs at $30 per month, download speed at at least 100 megabytes per second and upload speed at least 20. The model also does not allow data caps, surcharges, or usage based throttling. If another provider offers an affordable internet option with higher downstream or upstream speeds, the subscriber can cancel the state’s low-cost option at no additional charge.

    However, the States must only follow the basic guidelines of identifying an affordable cost cap, reasonable service characteristics and upgrade opportunities.

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been a strong proponent of state autonomy, even to the point of passing laws challenging federal government mandates.

    “High-speed broadband Internet is important infrastructure for Florida communities and will generate economic development activity and a talented labor force,” said DeSantis. “Florida is proud to make investments in broadband Internet infrastructure that will benefit all Floridians and make long-term impacts in communities across the state."

    DeSantis has announced multiple funding awards expanding broadband in Florida including $247 million was awarded earlier in July, $60 million in May, $22 million in late-April and $144 million in February.

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