How the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill will steer billions into technology spending

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A Tesla Model 3 will be connected and charged on March 2nd, 2021 at a Supercharger fast charging station for electric vehicles in Bersteland, Germany.

Thomas Koehler | Photo library | Getty Images

During the pandemic, the internet kept Americans going, as did highways and railways.

Now, a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday is slated to pour into expanding broadband access and raising funds to other parts of the tech sector, including electric vehicles. At the same time, the bill includes new tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrency transactions that are designed to help fund the bill’s enormous price tag.

The bill has yet to be passed by the House of Representatives and put into effect by President Joe Biden.

The bill provides about $ 75 billion of the total of roughly $ 1 trillion for broadband, cybersecurity and funding for EV charging stations. Tax reporting for cryptocurrencies would raise about $ 28 billion to fund them, the Joint Tax Committee estimated.

Here are the implications of the new infrastructure bill for the technology sector if it is passed and enacted by the House of Representatives.

Crypto tax reporting

One of the most controversial pieces of the bill in its final days was a pay-for-provision that would place stricter requirements on tax reporting for cryptocurrency transactions.

The proposal was intended to finance the high price of the bill, but it sparked a heated debate about its potential unintended effects.

The provision aimed to impose stricter tax filing rules on cryptocurrency transactions, although industry leaders warned they would inadvertently include software developers as “brokers” within the meaning of the bill.

A group of senators proposed a change to narrow this definition and isolate such software vendors from the new requirements. But another group of senators countered with an amendment that kept a broader definition.

On Monday, senators said they had reached an agreement on the changes, but that compromise was blocked when it was spoken.

The House of Representatives still has the option to revise this part of the bill and the cryptocurrency industry is expected to use agents to do so.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Who owns cryptocurrency and presented the proposal to narrow the broker definition, said in CNBC’s “Squawk Box” ahead of Tuesday’s final vote that if the brokered definition would be passed That they would fall to the Treasury Department to write rules that refine their effect.

Broadband

The Infrastructure Act provides $ 65 billion to expand access to Internet services, also known as broadband. The pandemic highlighted the need for high-speed internet access as office workers and students logged in from home at work and school.

It also highlighted the wide differences in internet access between rural areas and some low-income neighborhoods.

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

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

Electric vehicles

The bill will also fund the installation of electric vehicle charging stations across the country with $ 7.5 billion.

However, this allocation is well below what industry experts believe is necessary to create a robust national system. Consulting firm AlixPartners previously estimated that building a U.S. charging network would require $ 50 billion to accommodate the number of EVs expected by 2030.

Tesla is one of the companies that would benefit from the bill, among other things because it has opened its charging stations for vehicles from other manufacturers and is therefore entitled to receive the funds.

Internet security

Some of the funds will be used to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity. After a turbulent year of cyber attacks that plagued both private companies and government agencies, Congress decided to allocate approximately $ 2 billion for cybersecurity purposes.

Of this, $ 1 billion would fund a grant program for state, local, and tribal governments to strengthen their cybersecurity programs. Local governments have been among the targets of ransomware attacks in recent years, in which hackers shut down systems until a ransom is paid.

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

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