As the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is set to unleash an unprecedented amount of federal funds to expand high-speed Internet access as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s “Internet for All” initiative, all 50 states and U.S. territories have now received their initial planning funds.
Just before Christmas, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is administering the broadband funds in the infrastructure bill, announced Massachusetts as the final state to receive its portion of the planning funds ($6 million) in a joint press conference with outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the end-of-the-year allocation of planning funds for Massachusetts marked a significant milestone in the federal government’s support of state broadband offices rolling out competitive grant programs to build new broadband infrastructure and an array of other initiatives to close the nation’s digital divide.
All 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have now received these planning funds. In a matter of months, we’ll begin to see plans from around the country, detailing how each state will connect all their residents to high-speed, affordable Internet service.
With the broadband-related portion of the IIJA made up of two major funding sources – $42.5 billion in the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and $2.5 billion in Digital Equity Act (DEA) programs – each state will receive $100 million in BEAD funding, plus an additional amount based on a formula that includes how many unserved and underserved households are in each state.
The initial planning grants from the NTIA are meant to help states navigate the biggest hurdle of the IIJA:...Read more