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States to Get Funds to Expand Internet Access

More than $42 billion will be given to states to expand their broadband internet access, the White House announced this week, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s going on: “States and territories have been jockeying for months for their share of $42.5 billion allocated in an internet-construction fund called the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program. The law requires that federal agencies use a new, more accurate map of where high-speed internet service is missing before disbursing the funds.”

  • Texas will get the most money under the project ($3.3 billion) followed by California ($1.9 billion). Also set to receive significant sums are the less-populous Alaska, West Virginia and Montana.

The goal: The effort is meant to connect everyone in the U.S. to “affordable, high-speed internet service by 2030,” according to the Journal.

Why it’s important: Approximately 8.5 million U.S. households and businesses are located in areas of the country without access to high-speed internet access, which the Biden administration called “a necessity in today’s society” in an announcement about the funds.

  • BEAD is one of six federal internet-construction programs authorized by the NAM-backed bipartisan infrastructure law of 2021.
  • The legislation also includes $2.75 billion for digital equity and inclusion and $2 billion in loans and grants for internet infrastructure in rural locations, CNET reports.

Our view: “Manufacturers supported the bipartisan infrastructure law, and today’s historic broadband investment announcement will enhance industry operations through leading edge connectivity,” the NAM tweeted on Monday. “Thank you @POTUS for your leadership to advance domestic [manufacturing] priorities.”

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