|WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that all states and territories have confirmed their participation in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative announced in May. The Administration engaged in a comprehensive outreach and technical assistance campaign to ensure no state or territory was left behind.
The $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program enables states and territories to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. A separate State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program supports developing digital skills training and workforce development plans. In total, President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, funds $65 billion to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.
“The Department of Commerce is committed to ensuring all Americans have access to the internet, which is vital for our economic future,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Beyond access, we also must enable meaningful internet use and provide people with tools to participate in education and training, access health care, and thrive in the digital economy. The Internet for All initiative will help states and territories accomplish both goals. I applaud America’s state and territory leaders who took these important first steps toward bringing equitable access to high-speed internet to the people they serve.”
Digital Equity applications were due July 12th and all Letters of Intent to participate in the BEAD program were submitted ahead of the July 18th deadline. Hundreds of Tribal Nations have also submitted Letters of Intent to participate in the State Digital Equity Planning Grant program. Tribal entities can also apply for subgrants through their state or territory’s digital equity program.
“Bringing high-speed, affordable Internet to all of America will require a whole-of-nation effort. Today America’s state and local leaders have spoken as one nation committed to bridging the digital divide,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “Connecting America means leaving no community behind, and we are heartened by the bipartisan commitment to ensuring that all Americans have reliable, affordable Internet service and the skills needed to thrive in our modern digital world.”
The State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program is the first step for states, territories, and Tribal Nations to develop their digital equity plans, with $1.44 billion funding available later to fund specific projects. NTIA will announce the allocation of the $60 million Equity Planning Grant Program funds by September 29, 2022.
Initial planning fund applications for the BEAD program are due August 15, 2022.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed internet programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.