What Does the Senate Infrastructure Bill Mean for Data Centers?
Earlier this month, the US Senate passed the $1 trillion infrastructure plan which proposes to spend $65 billion on broadband-related items, with $42.45 billion of it going towards funding for a Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program. To bridge the digital divide, this bill will make grants available to underserved or unserved communities when it comes to broadband access. The bill states “The persistent ‘digital divide’ in the United States is a barrier to the economic competitiveness of the United States and equitable distribution of essential public services, including health care and education.”
The bill also allocates $1 billion to build out middle-mile infrastructure over the next five years. This funding will, for example, help pay for more undersea cables and improve connectivity to Data Centers. DSI, and others involved in the Data Center industry, will benefit greatly from this. The legislation will give the assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information 180 days from enactment to set up the program.
There are also two digital equity programs available with the introduction of this bill. The Digital Equity Act outlines both a state digital equity grant program and a competitive digital equity grant program. $4 billion in total is set aside for a tribal broadband connectivity fund and a rural telemedicine, distance learning, and broadband program.
The digital divide is a gap that this bill is attempting to close. Those who benefit from this digital age that we live in have access to knowledge, healthcare and more. This is certain to have a large impact on the data center/telecom industry in the years ahead. The bill is currently making its way through the House of Representatives.