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Administration and industry leaders on the challenges of meeting America’s broadband needs

Andy Berke and Michael Powell join Washington Post Live on Wednesday, Sept. 21. (Video: The Washington Post)

The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law signed by President Biden last year includes $550 billion in new investments in roads, bridges, broadband and other public works. Join Washington Post Live for conversations focusing on the plans and the timetable for upgrading the country’s high-speed internet with Andy Berke, special representative for broadband at the Commerce Department, and Michael Powell, president and CEO of the NCTA — The Internet & Television Association.

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“We have a huge number of needs across the country… For us, one of the biggest things to understand is how critical this is to modern life. Much like roads and electricity and water, this is now everyday infrastructure. We know that millions of Americans go without it, that there are infrastructure needs that have to be dealt with to make it a reality for people. And then finally the affordability piece is really important so that people can access it and then they have the skills and the device to use it.”- Andy Berke (Video: Washington Post Live)
“There are all kinds of different players in this. You’ve got the major companies that people think of, that you might get your internet service through. There are also cooperatives, there are municipal networks… there are mom and pops who run small internet service providers. Especially as you get out in rural areas, you see all types of different options for people… Some of them are incredibly expensive. In fact, what you’ll see is often, the worse your service, the more money that you pay… We know that this is a problem.”- Andy Berke (Video: Washington Post Live)
“It’s plenty of money, if it’s used efficiently, effectively for the state of purpose of getting those online who currently have no access. What I have known in my career is that because the gap in rural America is largely because of economic infeasibility, there are always mighty efforts to shift the money to markets where there’s a better return… A lot of times in the past we end up spending a lot of money that goes towards areas where there’s already broadband and we’re overbuilding, instead of investing in the economically challenged spaces that need the money most. I think if we’re disciplined it’s the right amount of money. If we don’t execute properly, I think we would regret it.”- Michael Powell (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I think we are always in danger of being overly optimistic about the timeframes... I really do think this is probably a decade-long project... This is a very complex undertaking in pretty remote areas and I think it’s just going to be a long, stable, steady slog. I think we can do it, but if we start wringing our hands after two or three years that it’s failed, I think we can lose our nerve and our will to continue on that course and get the job done.”- Michael Powell (Video: Washington Post Live)

Andy Berke

Special Representative for Broadband, U.S. Department of Commerce

Michael Powell

President & CEO, NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Content from Esri

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

(Video: Washington Post Live)

Modernizing Infrastructure for Resilience & Equity

In a segment presented by Esri, Founder and President Jack Dangermond addresses the infrastructure bill, the digital divide, and how location and geography can help identify areas with the greatest need, while creating common ground between government, businesses, and society.

Dangermond discusses how modernizing infrastructure with resiliency, sustainability, and equity in mind requires a deep understanding of the location-based relationship of environmental and human-made systems.

Jack Dangermond

Founder & President, Esri