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US lawmakers urge joint use of funds for broadband

WASHINGTON:

A group of 10 US House Democrats on Friday asked President Joe Biden’s administration to build electric vehicle charging stations together with broadband internet infrastructure under the $1 trillion infrastructure law approved in November 2021.
As part of that measure, Congress set aside $42.45 billion in grants to expand broadband, including building fibre or other networks. It also included $5 billion for EV charging.
The lawmakers led by Representatives Doris Matsui and Anna Eshoo urged officials to coordinate broadband and EV charging infrastructure efforts to encourage “co-location” of EV and broadband, especially in underserved areas.
“This approach can address multiple national priorities simultaneously and avoid duplicative efforts,” the lawmakers wrote.
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The Biden administration has set a goal of getting 500,000 chargers in place by 2030 to ensure EVs are accessible.
The Transportation Department’s EV charging rules require EV charging stations to have at least four ports capable of simultaneously fast charging four EVs and include data standards that will ensure third-party apps can provide real-time charging status information.
The lawmakers cited the EV “charging network’s connectivity requirements” in making the case for locating both EV charging and broadband.
Many rural and poorer areas lack EV charging as well as high-speed broadband access. “This approach can address multiple national priorities simultaneously and avoid duplicative efforts,” the lawmakers wrote.
Congress last year approved $14.2 billion for subsidies for low-income families to use toward internet service plans. More than 13 million households are taking part.
Earlier this week, the Transportation Department announced all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have submitted EV infrastructure deployment plans. The administration hopes to approve state plans by Sept. 30.
 

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