White House Announces $42 Billion To Expand Broadband Across US – CNET

US President Joe Biden has announced that over $42 billion in aid will be spread across the US to expand broadband access.

As part of the Biden administration’s goal to connect everyone in America to “reliable, affordable high-speed internet by the end of the decade,” according to a press release, the so-called Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program will allocate the $42 billion in different amounts to each state, territory and Washington, DC. 

At minimum, territories will get $27 million and states $107 million, up to a maximum of $3.3 billion; each award is listed on a separate press release. “Put simply, high-speed internet is a necessity in today’s society,” said Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to the president and White House infrastructure coordinator. 

The administration noted that 8.5 million households and small businesses are located in areas without access to high-speed internet, which is around how many are listed on the Federal Communications Commission’s new maps showing connectivity gaps around the US. The FCC had released its first versions of the revamped maps back in November, which swapped out the large census blocks used in previous versions to drill down to show whether 114 million individual homes and businesses actually have connectivity. 

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The funding to connect those homes and businesses comes from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Act signed into law last November, and the BEAD program represents the $42 billion promised at its signing to deploy broadband in areas without high-speed internet. 

In areas where broadband is already available, an additional $14.2 billion from the Infrastructure Act is planned to create a permanent $30 per month subsidy program to make high-speed internet more affordable for low-income Americans. Other assorted funds include $2.75 billion for digital equity and inclusion efforts, which could help end digital redlining that has kept ISPs from servicing low-income areas with fast internet, as well as $2 billion for indigenous governments and organizations and $2 billion in grants and loans to build internet infrastructure in rural areas. 

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