In a significant development for the future of American broadband, the Biden-Harris Administration has made public the state-by-state allocation for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. As a key part of their mission to expand reliable, affordable high-speed internet access, this plan allocates a colossal $42.45 billion in federal broadband funding to states, territories, and the District of Columbia.
The BEAD Program and Its Goals
Created under the aegis of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the BEAD program seeks to bridge the digital divide by accelerating the deployment of high-speed internet infrastructure across the United States. By focusing on equity and access, the BEAD program strives to address disparities in digital connectivity in both urban and rural areas.
Recognizing the critical role of the internet in daily life, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking concrete steps to ensure everyone, irrespective of their geographical location, has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. The BEAD program, a centerpiece of this digital equity initiative, is the largest single investment in broadband infrastructure in American history.
Unveiling the Allocation Plan
In a joint announcement at the White House, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris provided an overview of the state-by-state allocation. The funds will be used to administer state-level grant programs that will underpin the infrastructure expansion necessary for high-speed internet access. State allocations range from $27 million to over $3.3 billion, and every state will receive a minimum of $107 million. The full list of allocations can be viewed at this link.
“This announcement is a watershed moment for millions across America lacking access to a high-speed internet connection,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communication and Information Alan Davidson. Emphasizing the necessity of high-speed internet today, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator, Mitch Landrieu, drew parallels between this initiative and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Rural Electrification Act, a transformative initiative that brought electricity to almost every American home.
Implications of BEAD Funding Allocation
By creating the BEAD program, the Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that high-speed internet is not a luxury but a necessity for Americans to participate equally in work, school, healthcare, and staying connected with family and friends. The allocated funds will serve to stimulate the economy by creating jobs and encouraging private sector investment in the deployment of broadband networks.
Manufacturers have already announced expansions of their domestic manufacturing capacity, a move that is expected to create hundreds of well-paid jobs. These initiatives underscore the potential of BEAD program funding to catalyze positive economic ripple effects.
Beyond the BEAD Program
While the BEAD program is a vital element of the Biden-Harris administration’s digital equity strategy, it is not the only effort in play. Other initiatives include the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), the Digital Equity Act, and the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. Together, these complementary initiatives aim to build out high-speed internet infrastructure, provide subsidies for eligible households, and enhance digital skills, respectively.
The unveiling of the state-by-state BEAD funding allocation marks a critical step in the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious drive to bring high-speed internet to every American by the end of the decade. The groundwork has been laid for a substantial boost to rural and urban broadband, setting the stage for digital transformation and economic growth.
By dedicating unprecedented funding to bridge the digital divide, the Biden-Harris administration signals its commitment to ensuring all Americans, regardless of location or income level, can participate in our increasingly digital society. As President Biden and Vice President Harris continue their Investing in America tour, this announcement serves as a powerful reminder of their dedication to driving America’s digital future.
Source: White House