Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer has proposed a rural broadband connectivity program that includes $135 billion in investment and protecting municipal and co-op broadband networks, Broadcasting Cable reported over the weekend.
"Full participation in commerce depends on reliable, fast, affordable access to the Internet, however 39 percent of rural residents do not have access to high speed wireless as internet service providers fail to serve rural populations, despite receiving large government subsidies as an incentive," Steyer said in a new video.
"We need to alter our approach, break the corporate gridlock, and build these networks," said Steyer, who made it to the stage in the most recent televised debate, but is currently polling below the needed threshold for the next one.
As part of the plan, Steyer said he would appoint FCC commissioners who support net neutrality.
Steyer's proposal, which did not explain where the money to fund it would come from, is part of his “Partnership with Rural Communities,” according to NBC News.
This overall program would include another investment of more than $100 billion over a decade to improve infrastructure and to ensure that updated roads, bridges and levees are resilient to climate impacts.
Fighting climate change, one of Steyer's main campaign priorities, is also part of the plan. Steyer wants to invest more than $60 billion for rural grid modernization and $50 billion in rural renewable energy resources such as solar and emergency power centers.
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