Broadband Dollars Keep Flowing
WASHINGTON — Broadband dollars are continuing to flow into states as the Department of Treasury and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced more than $500 million for programs in Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska and North Dakota Tuesday.
Across the administration there are multiple programs giving out a total of $65 billion as part of the Internet for All initiative. The Treasury’s announcements were from the $10 billion Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund that will help give Americans internet upload speeds of 100 megabits per second. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is continuing to give out the $3 billion devoted to helping tribes across the country through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
“The pandemic upended life as we knew it — from work to school to connecting with friends and family — and exposed the stark inequity in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country, but especially in rural, tribal and low-income communities,” said Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo in a statement. “This funding will lay the foundation for the Biden-Harris administration’s historic investments to increase access to high-speed internet and reduce broadband bills for American households and businesses.”
Indiana is the largest recipient of this round with $187 million in funding to help connect more than 50,000 homes and businesses to the internet. Beneficiaries currently have upload speeds lower than 25 mbps, which until recently was the definition of “high-speed internet.”
As the administration set a goal to build out internet infrastructure it also increased the speeds necessary to define high-speed internet to 100 mbps. The residents in Indiana and other states receiving this money will get those faster speeds through these projects.
The Treasury is also giving $47.5 million to Arkansas, $40.8 million to Connecticut, $87.7 million to Nebraska and $45 million to North Dakota. All of those grants will help more than 40,000 homes and businesses connect to high-speed internet.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is giving $105 million to Native American tribes and companies that provide internet to tribes in Arizona. Those grants will help connect more than 33,000 homes to the internet, according to the administration.
Tuesday’s announcement by the administration was part of its large push to get the emergency funding out quickly. In the month of August alone it announced $634,702,609.57 in grants to 25 tribal entities total. So far $726 million of the $3 billion program has been doled out.
And to ensure people actually access the internet once these places are physically connected, each state has committed to promoting the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides stipends making the internet more affordable or even totally free.