The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that 34 states and territories have officially signed on to participate in the $45 billion “Internet for All” Initiative, NTIA announced.
The Internet for All Program is funded by the $42.5 billion Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, $1 billion from the Enabling Middle Mile Infrastructure program, and $1.5 billion from the State Digital Equity Act. All three programs were included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“Generations before us brought electricity to rural America and built the interstate highways,” Alan Davidson, assistant secretary of Commerce for communications and information, said. “Our generation’s task is to connect all Americans online. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, states are now ‘signing on’ to this initiative to promote internet access and adoption so that everyone in America has a chance to thrive in the modern economy.”
The program aims to build internet infrastructure, teach digital skills, and provide the necessary technology to look to bridge the digital divide and give everyone access to the tools needed to participate in today’s digital landscape. The goal is to bridge the divide by the end of the decade.
“It is absolutely critical that states join our efforts to deliver on access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet,” Secretary Gina Raimondo said in the release. “As more and more states come on board, we are happy to deliver on the promise that Americans across the country will no longer be held back by a lack of high-speed internet access.”
“Joining together, we can ensure every American will have access to technologies that allow them to attend class, start a small business, visit with their doctor, and participate in the modern economy,” Raimondo added.
According to NTIA, the 34 states and territories that have already signed on to the program are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, United States Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.