The House of Representatives approved $100 billion of broadband funding last week to help connect underserved parts of the country to the internet. While the Senate is unlikely to pass the bill, called the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, tech writer Andy Ihnatko told Boston Public Radio on Friday that he thinks the bill is an important step in the right direction.
"Broadband companies have been trying to insert stuff into state laws to prohibit competition and to limit their responsibilities," he said.
But this bill opens the door for community committees to create their own broadband companies and to provide internet connectivity to people who currently don't have it, Ihnatko noted.
"So if a national broadband company is not serving the rural members of your community, it's not okay for a state law to say, 'You can't create your own broadband because this broadband company has exclusive access to this territory.'" The bill also would ensure that when fiber optic cable is laid out, that it goes everywhere and is accessbile to every service, he added.
"It was passed by the House, it will very likely be killed by the Senate, it will not be signed into law by Trump," Ihnatko said. "But it does show that the power of broadband companies is waning."