It’s been a long time coming, but the Federal Communications Commission is spending billions of dollars on new TV, audio and Internet services this year.
The FCC announced the new spending plans on Thursday, and they’ll cover more than half of the $4.9 billion in funding the agency will receive over the next three years.
But that doesn’t include millions of dollars that will be spent on TV and radio, and tens of millions more for broadband and phone services.
The new spending plan includes $7 million to purchase a new, high-definition (HD) television and $1.6 million to buy a new satellite-based radio network.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the plan in January.
“As you can imagine, this is an expensive endeavor,” Wheeler said.
“This is a time when the broadcast media industry is in dire straits.”
He said that in 2016 the FCC spent $2.8 billion on new broadcasting infrastructure, more than the next two years combined.
The agency also has a $2 billion budget for “advancement” research that aims to better understand how the nation’s public radio stations, newspapers and other media can better engage the public.
Wheeler’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the new funding.
As the FCC begins to lay the groundwork for the future, Wheeler said he’s looking for ways to “rebuild our national radio system.”
“In the years ahead, we’re going to continue to have to invest in the radio and television networks and services that make the nation more productive and vibrant,” he said.