Dec 20, 2020 - Technology

COVID relief bill provides $7 billion for broadband access

Animated gif of an internet router with a textbook cover on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The coronavirus relief package deal that Congressional leaders reached Sunday includes $7 billion in funding for broadband internet access.

Why it matters: The move to remote learning and work has made broadband access essential for many families during the pandemic, at a moment when some can't afford it.

Details: The broadband funding includes a new $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit that will provide $50 per month for broadband for low-income families, a provision based on legislation from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The funding also includes, per a Hill aide:

  • $1.9 billion for "rip and replace" efforts to remove Huawei and ZTE equipment from U.S. networks.
  • $1 billion in grants for Tribal broadband programs.
  • $300 million for rural broadband deployment.
  • $285 million that will in part fund a pilot program to help with broadband issues for communities around historically Black colleges and universities.
  • $250 million for the Federal Communications Commission's telehealth program.
  • $98 million to improve broadband mapping.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to note additional funding for broadband mapping.

Go deeper