The Trump administration has laid out an aggressive vision for a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan to fix the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads, and even expand broadband access. Recent action also suggests that Congress has recognized the importance of broadband as the next critical infrastructure asset—and there appears to be bipartisan support to ensure that 21st century technology is available to all communities, especially among rural areas and tribal lands. As the U.S. government considers the specifics of a potentially massive investment in infrastructure, how will broadband be integrated into the broader plan and possibly be aligned with other asset improvements for more intelligent design?
On July 24, 2017, Brookings’ Center for Technology Innovation hosted a forum focused on the inclusion of broadband in the president’s infrastructure plan. What lessons can be learned by the administration from the 2009 National Recovery Act, the Federal Communications Commission’s successful spectrum incentive auctions, and the increasing private investments into broadband networks by service providers? Where are the synergies between the administration’s goals and the movement toward smart cities and the deployment of 5G wireless technologies? How will the pending infrastructure plan promote a long-term vision for increased build-out in rural areas and on tribal lands?
The session began with a congressional perspective of the pending White House plan, which was followed by a panel discussion.