Harris to Visit Louisiana, $17B in Private Broadband Investment, NY Rep Secures Broadband Funding

Kamala Harris was initially slated to visit Louisiana last month, but cancelled due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Harris to Visit Louisiana, $17B in Private Broadband Investment, NY Rep Secures Broadband Funding
Photo of Kamala Harris in 2019, taken by Gage Skidmore

March 15, 2022 – Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to visit Sunset, Louisiana on Friday as part of her efforts to promote the work done by the Biden administration to expand high speed broadband in rural areas, according to a report by the Advocate.

Harris, who was assigned the broadband portfolio by President Joe Biden in April 2021, originally planned to visit Sunset in February, but canceled due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This visit comes in the wake of the February announcement that over 10 million registered households are connected to high speed broadband through the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Private equity goes in on infrastructure

KKR, a private equity firm, announced Monday the closing of a $17-billion fund that will invest in infrastructure projects, including broadband, around the world.

Brandon Freiman, head of North American Infrastructure at KKR, said that the “global demand for building and upgrading critical infrastructure, as well as supporting responsible energy transition and growing broadband access, requires funding far in excess of public sources, which provides a big opportunity for private capital.”

The money “received strong support from a diverse group of both new and existing investors globally, including public and private pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, endowments and foundations, private wealth platforms, family offices, high-net-worth individual investors and other institutional investors,” according to the press release.

KKR will be investing $1 billion of capital alongside these investors.

New York getting $3.87M in broadband funding

A wireless broadband network across New York’s Niagara County and Orleans County will get $3.87 million as part of the spending bill passed by Congress this month and is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden soon.

Representative Chris Jacobs, R-New York, pressed for the funding, which will get “a wireless broadband provider to provide internet speeds from 25-100Mbps across large swaths of the county that are currently under- or unserved by adequate broadband service,” according to the congressman’s website.

Lynne Johnson, chairperson of the Orleans County legislature, said that they “have not seen this level of commitment in the 15 years since forming the NORA Rural Broadband Initiative and are beyond grateful that Congressman Jacobs took up the mantle on our behalf. It clearly made all the difference,” according to a report by The Daily News.

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