Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen Visits Comcast Stafford Rural Broadband Expansion Project

Despite the challenges we’ve faced, we’ve emerged stronger and poised for future growth. Investing in high-speed internet is an Administration-wide priority, with a goal of connecting every American by 2030. It’s a key example of our agenda to expand our economy’s capacity to produce in order to drive growth while increasing opportunity for people and places that haven’t had enough of it. We’re also saving Americans money right away. The American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund allocated $10 billion to states, territories, and Tribal governments for internet and other critical capital projects. Virginia has chosen to spend its entire allocation on expanding high-speed internet infrastructure to reach the nearly 20 percent of locations that currently lack such access across the state. In addition to that, localities have committed $8 billion from the ARPA’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program to expansion of internet access. Here in Virginia, nearly $600 million has been allocated for this purpose. And the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program provides $42.5 billion. This is the largest investment for internet in our history. It will mean an additional nearly $1.5 billion for high-speed internet here in Virginia. Alongside federal funds, states, cities, and counties are stepping up as well. And the private sector, including Comcast, as we see right here, is seizing the opportunity to expand services. That’s why I see our efforts to close the digital divide as a prime example of how all levels of government, along with private companies and non-profits, can effectively work together. Spurring such partnerships has been at the heart of President Biden’s economic agenda to Invest in America. Investing in internet access creates jobs. Making high-speed internet a reality requires manufacturing fiber-optic cable and installing it across the country. This means new employment opportunities for thousands of Americans, including many well-paying union jobs. But like with roads, bridges, and rail, the jobs created from building infrastructure are just one reason infrastructure matters. It’s also crucial to boosting productivity and growth. High-speed internet access in this country hasn’t been evenly distributed. In rural areas, around one third of households don’t have reliable high-speed access. That’s unacceptable. But it’s also an opportunity. It means that investing in high-speed internet can increase economic opportunity in places where potential exists but opportunity often hasn’t. These investments can be more impactful, yielding bigger economic gains.

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen in Stafford County, Virginia