CARES Act Funding Leads to Nearly $50 Million in Broadband Projects in Idaho

August 28, 2020 by Dan McCue
(Photo by Dan McCue)

BOISE, Idaho – Federal coronavirus relief funds will pay for 102 projects aimed at extending broadband connectivity to 43,000 underserved households in Idaho, the state’s governor and Department of Commerce announced Friday.

Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, and Commerce officials, said $48.9 million in coronavirus funding will be spent on the projects which include the installation of improved broadband infrastructure and equipment and the deployment of related services.

The majority of the projects are located in rural communities of less than 3,000 residents. Public safety and local government entities received 23 of the 102 grants awarded.

“In the short-term, this investment in broadband connectivity will assist with our ongoing COVID-19 response by supporting student remote learning, telehealth, work-from-home opportunities in more parts of the state, and improved government services,” Gov. Little said.

“In the long-term, we will see better opportunities for economic development in underserved parts of Idaho,” he said.

The grant program provides funding resources for broadband infrastructure investment and associated equipment for underserved households, public safety organizations, local governments, and medical clinics and hospital facilities.

Idaho Commerce began accepting grant applications on June 29, 2020, and received 137 applications requesting $83 million in grant funding. The applications were then posted for public comment and additional review.

“These projects will help many rural communities and tens of thousands of households with new high-speed internet service for remote learning, working, local government services and telehealth access,” Commerce Director Tom Kealey said.

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