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Warren Pledges $85 Billion for Public Broadband

Looks to bypass commercial ISPs to get universal broadband at regulated price.

WASHINGTON—Saying that “big broadband companies exclude entire communities—especially tribal communities and rural communities of color—from access to high-speed Internet,” presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has unveiled her plan for closing the rural broadband gapbillions for rate-regulated, publicly funded networks and preempting state laws that don’t square with her plan, among many other things.

According to a recent poll, Warren is running second behind former Vice President Joe Biden among the Democratic presidential hopefuls.

In a post on Medium, and as a part of her larger “Plan for Rural America,” Warren lit into ISPs. “Not only that, they have deliberately restricted competition, kept prices high and used their armies of lobbyists to convince state legislatures to ban municipalities from building their own public networks,” she said. Her solutions include a new $85 billion fund to power buildouts, but only going to utility cooperatives, non-profits, tribes, local governments.