The Biden administration today announced how it will distribute more than $42 billion in Federal funding to expand high-speed internet access nationwide, commencing the largest-ever campaign to help an estimated 8.5 million families and small businesses obtain access to affordable broadband services.
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced how it has allocated funding to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program – a $42.45 billion grant program created in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
In a formal unveiling at the White House, President Joe Biden compared the new broadband infrastructure project to the government’s work to electrify the nation’s darkened heartland in the late 1930s, when nearly 90 percent of farms had no electric power.
“I wonder if President Roosevelt felt a little bit like this as he talked about electrification of our farmlands,” Biden said. “What we’re doing, as I said, is not unlike what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did. He brought electricity to nearly every American home and farm in our nation. Today, Kamala and I are making an equally historic investment to connect everyone in America … by an affordable, high-speed internet by 2030.”
The announcement of the allocations today at the White House kicked off the three-week administration-wide Investing in America tour, where White House officials will “fan out across the country to highlight investments, jobs, and projects made possible by President Biden’s economic agenda.”
“What this announcement means for people across the country is that if you don’t have access to quality, affordable high-speed Internet service now – you will, thanks to President Biden and his commitment to investing in America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber-optic cable in America, or creating good paying jobs building Internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come.”
Among the highlights of today’s BEAD allocation announcement include:
- Awards ranging from $27 million to over $3.3 billion, with every state receiving a minimum of $107 million;
- Nineteen states receiving allocations over $1 billion, with the top 10 allocations in Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington; and
- With these allocations and other Biden administration investments, all 50 states, D.C., and the territories now have the resources to connect every resident and small business to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by 2030.
“This is a watershed moment for millions of people across America who lack access to a high-speed Internet connection. Access to Internet service is necessary for work, education, healthcare, and more,” said NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson. “States can now plan their Internet access grant programs with confidence and engage with communities to ensure this money is spent where it is most needed.”
States, D.C., and territories will receive their formal notice of allocation on June 30, NTIA said.
Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, they will have 180 days from the date of that formal notice to submit their initial proposals describing how they plan to run their grant programs. Once NTIA approves an initial proposal, which will occur on a rolling basis, the states will be permitted to request access to at least 20 percent of their allocated funds, the agency said.
The BEAD funding will be used to deploy or upgrade broadband networks to ensure that everyone has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet service. Once deployment goals are met, NTIA said any remaining funding can be used to pursue eligible access-, adoption-, and equity-related uses.