Crafting an infrastructure bill for 2021 and beyond is different than it was 50 years ago. Today, the internet is used in everyday life for many different purposes. Congressional and union leaders are working to ensure broadband improvements are added into any future infrastructure bill.
Kojak Valentine, Communications Workers of America Local 4008 Unit Vice President-IEFS, explained the importance of expanded broadband on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast. He also discussed the Build Broadband Better project and how it affects Americans.
Broadband expansion in America
As Regional Coordinator of the Build Broadband Better project, Valentine understands the importance of broadband access everywhere in the U.S.
He said the U.S. is falling behind on this issue and cannot afford to kick it down the road any longer. Technology is moving forward and our technological infrastructure needs to be updated so Americans can take full advantage of the internet.
There have been discussions about including broadband funding in a federal infrastructure plan, but some legislators are against it. Valentine argued that during the pandemic, broadband clearly proved to be infrastructure, as students took online classes and people worked from home.
Rebuilding crumbling infrastructure
Much like broadband expansion, Valentine said the U.S. has fallen behind when it comes to rebuilding traditional infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
Technology is ever changing, and the needs of the current economy are too. More commerce is taking place online, meaning goods increasingly need to be delivered. With more trucks and vans on roads and highways, the lifespan of our roads is shortened, making travel more dangerous for workers.
Build Broadband Better
Valentine said the Build Broadband Better campaign was started when the Biden administration threw support behind broadband expansion. The campaign consists of digital and television advertisements and political action.
The CWA has formed the “Broadband Brigade,” composed of actual broadband workers who see the problems first hand. These workers will lobby officials, educate union members and more.