Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which was signed into law by President Biden on Nov. 15, to address a range of industry investments pertinent to the nation’s physical and virtual infrastructure. Spanning areas such as roadway improvement and clean energy, the trillion-dollar legislation package is set to make a strong impact especially in the information technology sector.
Over the next 5 years, a large bulk of the funds will be directed to expanding broadband access for about 30 million people currently without reliable high-speed internet coverage. As job and educational opportunities become increasingly dependent on internet access, this initiative aims to help those people currently without reliable internet coverage who may be living in rural and/or low-income urban areas. Notably, the bill also subsidizes the cost of internet services for qualified individuals to make access more affordable. With an allocation of nearly $65 billion, broadband expansion and affordability is one of the top priorities of this historic legislation. This creates a huge demand for IT and telecommunications workers who are needed to implement, configure and maintain these expanded high-speed networks.
Another major priority of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is improving the nation’s transportation system, which includes roads, bridges, highways, airports, railways, ports, etc. With over $100 billion allocated under this deal, it’s clear that the transportation industry’s investment in sustainable, energy-efficient modes of transportation is vital to the nation’s success. Additional focus centered on Electronic Vehicles aims to increase the number of electronic charging stations throughout the country and ultimately push for lower greenhouse emissions. With these focused improvements, the transportation industry will undoubtedly need support across its technological apparatus, especially in the area of cybersecurity and Operational Technology security. Protecting the masses from internal and external service disruption is sure to provide opportunities to develop, safeguard and maintain these systems.
“We are all excited about the improvement potential this legislation offers.” said Colleen Molter, President of QED National, “Those in the IT sector will undoubtedly be relied on to help achieve the goals associated with this program.”
As a majority of the nation’s infrastructure is under the control and responsibility of State and Local government, increased opportunities will be seen in this area, especially, as mentioned earlier, in the realm of cybersecurity. Over the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have reported a significant increase in the volume and potency of attacks impacting State and Local government entities and private corporations, significantly impacting or effectively shutting down operations in some cases. This cybersecurity investment is also aimed to protect the electrical power grid, preventing any devastating disruptions in service. Additional cybersecurity investments will be distributed amongst the Department of Homeland Security and the Critical Infrastructure Security Administration to increase their operational spending and ability to defend the nation from cyber threats. With over $2 billion allocated to cybersecurity investments alone, there should be increased opportunity for IT resources across State, Local, Federal and private industry. Reliance on technological expertise is essential for the implementation and maintenance of many of the initiatives supported by this legislation. Time will certainly tell the extent of its impact, but with congressional funds streamlined towards improving the nation’s physical and virtual infrastructure, significant opportunities are sure to follow.