All 50 States, US Territories, and the District of Columbia Join Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that all states and territories have confirmed their participation in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative announced in May 2022. The Administration engaged in a comprehensive outreach and technical assistance campaign to ensure no state or territory was left behind.
For as long as people have been talking about the digital divide, there have been complaints that we lack detailed maps to tell us exactly where broadband is—and is not—available. I wanted to give people a brief of the latest key developments:
Treasury Announces First Capital Projects Fund Awards to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet
The Department of the Treasury announced the first group of plans approved under the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF). The CPF provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency.
President Biden and Vice President Harris announced that they have secured private sector commitments that will lower high-speed internet costs for millions of American families. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the President and Vice President worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which allows tens of millions of American households to reduce their internet service costs by up to $30/month (or $75/month on Tribal lands).
Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss announced the appointment of Dr. Revati Prasad as the Benton Institute's new Director of Research and Fellowships. Revati will recruit and manage a diverse cohort of fellows—researchers, advocates, and practitioners—and their projects supported by the newly created Marjorie & Charles Benton Opportunity Fund. In addition, Dr.
President Biden has renominated Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to be a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). With Alan Davidson confirmed to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), it is critical that we have a fully functioning FCC to implement much of the work Congress has directed the two agencies to do.
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, Community Informatics Lab at Simmons University, and Black Brilliance Research Project (BBR) launched the six-city Digital Equity Action Research (DEAR) Fellowship. The DEAR Fellowship is a participatory action research program for young adults, ages 19-24, that helps examine how digital inclusion coalitions understand and address the root causes of digital inequities in their communities. The fellowship started in November 2021 and will conclude with a celebration and community event in mid-January 2022.
President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve in key roles:
The US Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration has begun awarding its historic $3 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. EDA awarded $24 million in grants to states and territories across the nation for statewide planning efforts to boost economic development, enhance US competitiveness, combat the climate crisis, and recover from the pandemic. EDA will fun
USDA to Make Up to $1.15 Billion Available to Help People Living in Rural Communities Access High-Speed Internet
On November 24 the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants to expand the availability of broadband in rural areas.