President-Elect Donald Trump will begin his four year presidential term starting January 20, 2017. We can only speculate about what a Trump Presidency means for broadband, but here’s a quick take on a few potential broadband impacts.
President-Elect Trump has proposed spending one trillion dollars fixing and upgrading America’s infrastructure over the next 10 years. There is strong bi-partisan support for infrastructure spending, particularly from a jobs creation standpoint. Such investment will certainly create jobs, though some analysts caution that advances in technology reduce the number of new jobs we envision when we think about large scale builds to fix America’s water systems, roads, and bridges.
While Trump hasn’t specifically referenced broadband, he does include telecommunications infrastructure in his “America’s Infrastructure First” plan. In addition, upgrades to America’s roads and highways could include the installation of fiber and/or conduit by state departments of transportation.
Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan will be funded using public-private partnerships and large tax-credits to developers and private investors. Some have suggested this strategy might not incentivize investors into areas that really need infrastructure assistance, suggesting infrastructure spending could still become a hotly debated partisan issue.
Trump has proposed a four-part cybersecurity strategy that includes a review and audit of current cyber defenses and vulnerabilities. The audit alone could potentially take years, but cybersecurity experts suggest a national cybersecurity standard, if enforced, could strengthen our large network of government agencies.
The President-Elect has also suggested strengthening America’s cyber offenses, including growing the capacity of hacking efforts and developing cyber weapons that could be used in the event of an attack.
From a personal consumer standpoint, some industry analysts are concerned over past statements from Trump regarding privacy and encryption backdoors. During the FBI’s high-profile dispute with Apple following their refusal to hack the iPhone of a San Bernardino terror suspect, Trump called for an Apple boycott. Some companies fear a forthcoming call requiring encryption backdoors and possible invasions of individual privacy.
A Trump Administration will gain control over the currently democratic Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The President-Elect has previously criticized net neutrality as a “top down power grab” and will likely make an attempt to gut the order. A Trump FCC will probably loosen regulatory controls over the telecommunications industry.
Across the board, Trump has stated his intent to reduce industry regulation of all types. Some suggest deregulation could disincentivize broadband providers from pursuing build-outs in rural and other underserved areas.
To read more about possible telecommunications policy changes that could take place on a congressional level, view the Benton Foundation’s analysis here: