Amy Klobuchar makes broadband access a key component of presidential bid

In a new Medium post this morning, 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar outlined her plans for infrastructure spending, which she says will be “her top budget priority.” The bulk of the plan details what you’d more or less expect from a Democratic presidential candidate, including the repair and replacement of roads and bridges, reliable public transit, investment in schools and housing and a focus on green energy.

But the Minnesota senator also details an interesting approach to the internet. Namely, Klobuchar wants to bridge the rural internet divide, with plans to connect every American household with broadband internet by 2022. It’s a bold plan, but more importantly, it points to a shift in America’s expectations of internet connectivity, from privilege to right. In recent years, it’s been viewed as something more akin to a household utility.

The platform rightly notes that the internet has become a key driver in economic and job opportunities, and keeping America competitive means ensuring that everyone is connected. Klobuchar, in particular, points to rural areas, which have traditionally had difficulty accessing high-speed internet. After all, the U.S. is, in a word, huge.

“Amy’s plan will help close the urban-rural divide by creating accurate broadband maps to identify areas that lack adequate access,” the piece reads, “focus on bringing high-speed internet infrastructure to areas most in need, and provide greater incentives for existing providers to use funds to upgrade their networks to cover unserved and underserved areas.”

Infrastructure is always a major talking point in the lead-up to big elections, but perhaps 2020 will find the internet playing a key role in those conversations.