Congress passed its long-awaited $1 trillion infrastructure bill over the weekend, which promises to make a dramatic dent in the digital divide and give a boost to the electric vehicle market in America.
Industry groups and tech companies alike were quick to praise its passage as a win for the tech industry. "By including investments that will pave the way for broadband to be more accessible and available, this measure will ensure that communities across the country are able to more equitably access the internet," Internet Association CEO K. Dane Snowden said in a statement.
Here's a quick look at what the bill will do for tech:
The bill allocates a total of $65 billion for broadband.
- That includes $42.45 billion in grants to states, which can be used for actual broadband deployment, as well as data collection and employee training, among other things.
- Under that $65 billion is $14.2 billion to provide $30 monthly discounts to low-income Americans. This program builds on the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which launched in response to the pandemic and currently offers people $50 monthly discounts.
- The $65 billion also includes $2.75 billion in grants for digital literacy programs, as well as $2 billion for rural broadband construction.
- It also sets aside $5 billion for electric and hybrid school buses.
One of the least popular provisions of the bill among techies is a cryptocurrency IRS reporting requirement.
- This provision requires crypto brokers to report to the IRS, but some have argued that the bill's definition of broker extends far beyond crypto exchanges, and could extend to miners and other parts of the crypto universe.