Sens Cantwell and Capito Propose Broadband Buildout Along America’s Electricity Grid

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Sens Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Grant to Rapidly Invest and Deploy (GRID) Broadband Act, a pioneering proposal that would provide a robust new federal cost-share to spur investment in a nationwide middle mile backbone along the nation’s existing electricity grid. The goal of this bipartisan initiative is to help provide affordable high-speed Internet options to the 120 million American households that lack connectivity and enhance the resiliency, diversity, and security of America’s electrical grid. This investment will create thousands of skilled jobs, while enhancing the capacity and resilience of our critical networks, reducing costs to providers and consumers, and setting the stage for sustained long-term economic growth. Under the GRID Broadband Act, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is charged with issuing competitive cost-shared federal grants to encourage the rapid development of a secure, nationwide broadband backbone on existing electric grid infrastructure. Recipients of GRID Broadband awards must use funding to improve cybersecurity and smart grid technology on their electrical grid infrastructure, as well as increase middle-mile broadband capacity. Grant recipients must cover at least half of project costs, except for a qualifying not-for-profit utility or Native entity that is providing access to underserved or unserved communities.

Cantwell, Capito Propose Broadband Buildout Along America’s Electricity Grid