Biden-Harris Administration Announces Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah to Receive Nearly $1 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funds to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet
The Department of Treasury approved broadband projects in an additional six states under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah. Together, these states will use their funding to connect more than 180,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.
The pandemic spurred policymakers and community leaders around the country to create programs to connect those without home broadband service or computers. These programs have had an impact. New government data show sharp increases in broadband and computer adoption in the 2019-to-2021 time frame. Initiatives such as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) have helped address “subscription vulnerability” for low-income households. With progress evident, it is time to extend and build on the ACP and local affordability programs.
The Federal Communications Commission released a pre-production draft of its new National Broadband Map. The map will display specific location-level information about broadband services available throughout the country – a significant step forward from the census block level data previously collected. This release of the draft map kicks off the public challenge processes that will play a critical role in improving the accuracy of the map.
Biden-Harris Administration Awards More Than $5.7 Million to Puerto Rico in ‘Internet for All’ Planning Grants
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is committing $5,781,987.00 in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to Puerto Rico through the territory's first “Internet for All” grants. The grant is for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs, as well as for planning for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the territory. Puerto Rico will receive $5 million to support the following:
Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel will visit Isleta and Laguna Pueblos in northern New Mexico and meet with Tribal library representatives and Tribal leaders from several Pueblos and Navajo Nation, as part of agency efforts to ensure everyone, everywhere has the internet connections they need.
The federal government plans to invest $1.5 billion to help spur a standards-based alternative for the gear at the heart of modern cellular networks.
US Senator John Thune (R-SD) will launch a nationwide oversight effort that will review numerous broadband programs spanning several federal agencies. The primary goal of Thune’s effort is to hold these agencies accountable and ensure that previously authorized broadband funding is being used in the most efficient way possible to protect taxpayer dollars. Sen Thune seeks input on the current broadband regulatory structure from a diverse group of stakeholders, including broadband associations, public interest groups, and free market think tanks.
How much broadband will Americans get for the $75 billion that Congress committed in 2021? That’s enough money to equip an additional 17 million households with broadband, taking the US to 99 percent broadband coverage, according to a Federal Communications Commission staff paper and data from the Census Bureau.
A federal effort to map out and better understand who in America has decent internet and who does not is already getting challenged by those in the know, including the Colorado Broadband Office, which has submitted 13,000 challenges of the data. The map is just two weeks old. And the state isn’t done challenging the data collected by the Federal Communications Commission, said Brandy Reitter, executive director of the state’s broadband office. “Thirteen thousand is a lot but likely doesn’t include all missing locations,” Reitter said.