Coronavirus and Connectivity

Through our Headlines news service, Benton is tracking the role of broadband in the response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Click on titles below for full summaries of articles and links to sources.

FCC Announces Over $5 Million in Emergency Connectivity Funding for Schools

The Federal Communications Commission committed nearly $5.2 million in a new funding round through the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, which provides digital tools and services to support students in communities across the country. The funding commitment supports applications from the third application window, benefitting approximately 14,000 students nationwide, including students in California, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. The funding commitment will support approximately 23 schools and school districts.

Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program Notice of Funding Availability #008

The Iowa Department of Management received 91 applications for round #8 of the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program which is designed to reduce or eliminate areas of the State of Iowa that are unserved or undeserved by broadband service. Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) #008 made $148,960,000 available for broadband expansion in Iowa. Funds for this grant round have been allocated from the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) Capital Projects Fund ("CPF") to provide a substantial infusion of resources to help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the f

70,000 Unserved Michigan Homes, Businesses to Connect to High-Speed Internet Through $203 Million in First Round of Grant Awards

Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) and the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) announced $203 million has been awarded in the first round of the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant program to connect over 70,000 unserved Michigan homes and businesses to high-speed internet. In total, the ROBIN, program will provide $238 million in federal funding to support the deployment of high-speed internet to more than 90,000 unserved locations throughout the st

Governor Carney, Delaware Department of Technology and Information, Share Broadband Update, Next Steps

Governor John Carney (D-DE) joined state leaders and representatives of Comcast, Verizon, Mediacom, and the Communication Workers of America (CWA) at the Innovation Technology Exploration Center to celebrate progress on broadband expansion and preview next steps.

Massachusetts Broadband Institute Launches $145 Million Gap Networks Infrastructure Grant Program

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech (MBI), on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has launched the Broadband Infrastructure Gap Networks Grant Program, a new competitive grant program funded by $145 million from the US Department of Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund that aims to deliver high-speed internet infrastructure to areas that currently lack broadband-level service.

Missouri awards $12 million in ARPA funding to expand cellular service statewide

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) awarded a total of $12 million through the Cell Towers Grant Program for 29 projects. Grant awards will be used to construct new towers that provide quality cellular service and greater 911 connectivity to high-cost areas. The program, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), is focused on investing in the expansion of cellular service statewide.

Oklahoma Broadband Office flooded with requests to expand internet access

The Oklahoma Broadband Office, tasked with awarding millions of dollars in federal money to increase access to high-speed internet services, announced companies could apply for $374 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars, but applications totaled $5.1 billion in projects. “The overwhelming response to our request for submissions speaks to the tremendous need for high-speed internet access in rural Oklahoma,” said Office Executive Director Mike Sanders.

Aloha Spirit Inspires Hawai'i Digital Equity Plan

The ʻŌlelo Noʻeau (Native Hawaiian proverb) which introduces Hawai'i's draft Digital Equity Plan speaks to Hawai'i's dependence on the finite resources on an island, the state residents' dependence on one another, and their interconnectedness with everything around them.

FCC Announces Almost $53.4 Million in Emergency Connectivity Funding for Schools and Libraries

The Federal Communications Commission committed $37.7 million in a new funding round through the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, which provides digital tools and services to support students in communities across the country. This funding commitment supports applications from the third application window, benefitting approximately 100,000 students nationwide, including students in Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

Verizon to hire 1,800 techs for East Coast broadband expansion

Verizon is hiring 1,800 additional technicians to support its East Coast broadband expansion efforts in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Washington (DC). Many of the targeted markets are rural and traditionally underserved communities, and so they qualify for funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.