US offers $42 bn funding for high-speed broadband

The United States announced  it will spend $42 billion for offering high-speed broadband in 50 states and U.S. territories by 2030.
gigabit broadbandPresident Joe Biden also revealed details of funding for states.

Awards range from $27 million to over $3.3 billion, with every state receiving a minimum of $107 million.

19 states received allocations over $1 billion with the top 10 allocations in Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

With these allocations and other Biden administration investments, all 50 states, DC, and the territories now have the resources to connect every resident and small business to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by 2030.

Funding for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program, which was authorized by the $1 trillion infrastructure law in 2021, is set to be allocated based on a recently released coverage map by the Federal Communications Commission.

FCC’s broadband coverage map highlights areas where there is a lack of access to broadband services.

The two most populous states in the United States, Texas and California, are leading the funding list with $3.1 billion and $1.9 billion respectively. However, even less populous states such as Virginia, Alabama, and Louisiana have made it to the top 10 due to their limited broadband access. These states have significant rural areas that face challenges in terms of internet connectivity compared to their major cities.

During a White House address, President Joe Biden emphasized the significance of this funding, stating: “It’s the biggest investment in high-speed internet ever. Because for today’s economy to work for everyone, internet access is just as important as electricity, water, or other basic services.”

The funding awards range from $27 million for territories like the U.S. Virgin Islands to over $3.3 billion for Texas, ensuring that every state receives a minimum of $107 million.

The government estimates that approximately 8.5 million locations across the country lack access to reliable broadband connections.

Broadband companies, such as Verizon, Comcast, Charter Communications, and AT&T, have been hesitant to provide access to low-population rural communities due to the high cost of investments and the limited number of potential subscribers in those regions. The lack of broadband access was further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic when students were forced into online learning.

States are expected to submit their initial plans later this year, which will unlock 20 percent of the funding. The remaining funds will be released by the government once the plans are finalized, a process that could extend until 2025.