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New infrastructure package to fund cybersecurity needs



CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ team discusses how the infrastructure deal includes funding for cybersecurity needs across the country. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

During the pandemic, the internet kept Americans going as much as highways and rails.

Now, a $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday is set to inject money into expanding broadband access and bring funding to other parts of the tech sector, including electric vehicles. At the same time, the bill includes new tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrency transactions, meant to help fund the bill’s enormous price tag.

The bill still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The bill allocates about $75 billion of the roughly $1 trillion total to broadband, cybersecurity and electric vehicle charging station funding. The cryptocurrency tax reporting provision would raise about $28 billion to fund it, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated.

Here are the ways the new infrastructure bill will impact the tech sector if it is passed by the House and signed into law.

Broadband

The infrastructure bill will allocate $65 billion toward expanding access to internet services, also known as broadband. The pandemic highlighted the need for high-speed internet access as office-based workers and students began logging into work and school from home.

It also further illuminated stark disparities in internet access in rural areas and some low-income urban neighborhoods.

The funds include a $42.5 billion grant program to fund broadband deployment in areas with the least amount of coverage. Another $14 billion will help subsidize internet costs for low-income Americans, extending the emergency funds created by bills passed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new internet subsidy would give eligible Americans a discount of up to $30 a month, while they receive up to $50 today under the emergency program.

Cybersecurity

A chunk of funding will go toward reinforcing the country’s cybersecurity. After a tumultuous year of cyberattacks that have plagued both private businesses and government agencies, Congress chose to allocate about $2 billion for cybersecurity purposes.

Of that, $1 billion would fund a grant program for state, local and tribal governments to reinforce their cybersecurity programs. Local governments have been among those targeted in recent years by ransomware attacks, in which hackers shut down systems until a ransom is paid.

Other portions of the funds would go toward strengthening the security of the electric grid, to the Department of Homeland Security for cyber research and development and to its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to increase its operational budget.

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