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.
On Monday, September 26, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Director of Research and Fellowships Dr. Revati Prasad hosted an online panel discussion, From the Ground Up: Broadband Mapping By and for Communities, on how communities and states are collecting data on local broadband availability as the Federal Communications Commission rolls out the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program.
Treasury Announces Four Additional Capital Projects Fund Awards to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet
The US Department of the Treasury announced the approval of broadband projects in four additional states under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan: Alabama, Kentucky, Nevada, and Texas. Together, these states will use their funding to connect over 292,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.
In the summer of 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will begin distributing hundreds of millions, and in some cases billions, of funding to states as part of the $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. Expectedly, states are busy creating and staffing broadband offices in anticipation of the BEAD and digital equity monies. Blinded by a nationwide broadband fever, however, some broadband leaders have proclaimed that states will entirely close, bridge, or eliminate the digital divide in the coming years.
Missouri awards $261 million through the ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to fund 60 broadband expansion projects
The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) awarded a total of $261 million through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to 60 recipients for projects that will expand and improve internet access statewide. Projects receiving funds are expected to create more than 55,000 connections in locations that previously lacked adequate internet access. The ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, administered by DED’s Office of Broadband Development, was launched in August 2022 to invest in broadband expansion.
AT&T expects to see Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding flow from the federal government to the states and expects the “more aggressive” states to award some of that funding to broadband projects before the end of 2023, said AT&T CEO John Stankey. Citing the 80/20 rule, Stankey said, “The bigger states that are going to have the bulk of the funding are pretty zoned in on this and are moving pretty aggressively to get the process underway." Smaller states, he said, may “take a little bit longer to get their act together” and may be waiting to see what the more agg
NTIA ended 2022 by awarding $304 million in funding to every state, along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, for planning how to best deploy networks to connect everyone in America to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service. Each state has different needs and unique challenges in bridging the digital divide, and our planning grants recognize the importance of flexibility. Still, there are broad trends driving the ways states are putting this money to use:
Engineering firm Dewberry Alaska—in collaboration with mapping company Ecopia AI, Rasmuson Foundation, and the State of Alaska—is working on a broadband map based on what Ecopia AI is calling “an accurate, up-to-date and complete map of every building, in both rural and urban areas, in the state.” Ecopia AI’s specialty is applying artificial intelligence (AI) to satellite imagery to identify buildings.
Governor Tim Walz (D-MN) and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan (D-MN) share the goal of ensuring all homes and businesses have access to broadband by 2026. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan recommend $276 million to expand the reach of the Border-to-Border Broadband Program to areas of Minnesota that are unserved or underserved. Since its inception in 2014, the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program has provided nearly $230 million to connect 90,000 Minnesota homes and businesses to high-speed internet.
Vermont, one of the least populated states in the US, has to contend with plenty of broadband-related challenges. But state legislation and municipal providers have made bridging the digital divide a little easier. Robert Fish, the Deputy Director of the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB), said Vermont’s issues are the same as those elsewhere in the country.