WASHINGTON — The $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill passing through the Senate this week is expected to be a boon to cable and fiber Internet companies, with $ 65 billion allocated to improve Internet access for poor and isolated communities.
The plan, which has yet to be reconciled with a House version, would help home internet providers like AT&T Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. by providing $ 40 billion in subsidies that states can distribute to operators expanding their operations. networks to households that lack high-speed service.
AT&T plans to self-fund the expansion of its fiber optic network to cover millions of new locations in the coming years. Its chief executive, John Stankey, said government support in other areas would be “the icing on the cake”. Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge said the cable company can expand its network effectively with the help of government grants.
The bill would also expand an emergency fund set up earlier this year to cover broadband service for low-income Americans. These users could eventually become paying customers.
The latest version of the bill drawn up on Sunday came as a relief to some players in the telecommunications industry who opposed measures envisaged in previous versions, including higher internet speed requirements and incentives for businesses seeking to compete with existing cable and telephone operators.