FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over $25 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funding to Help Ensure Every American Has Access to High Speed, Affordable Internet
The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new investments from the American Rescue Plan to help provide every American with access to affordable, high-speed internet. The American Rescue Plan funding is in addition to the $65 billion investment in high-speed Internet access in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and recent announcements to lower the cost of high-speed internet for tens of millions of American families. These investments will bring down costs for families, help small businesses, and boost education for America's kids. Affordable, high-speed internet connects Americans to critical services and expands economic opportunities to every community. The American Rescue Plan has already spent or committed more than $25 billion to invest in affordable high-speed internet and connectivity.
- $10 billion through the Capital Projects Fund: Today, the Treasury Department announced the first state awards of the Capital Projects Fund, which is providing resources, in addition to the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, to states, territories, and Tribal governments to deliver affordable, reliable, high-speed internet infrastructure and other connectivity projects.
- $8 Billion Already Committed with American Rescue Plan State and Local Funds: Even without full reporting in, state and local governments have committed more than $8 billion in investments toward expanding affordable digital connectivity, through construction of affordable and high-speed broadband infrastructure and providing assistance to households for Internet access and digital literacy.
- $7 billion through the FCC's Emergency Connectivity Fund program to help schools and libraries close the "homework gap." The American Rescue Plan's Emergency Connectivity Fund has already helped over 12.6 million students and provided schools and libraries with 10.5 million connected devices and over 5 million internet connections.
First State Awards of the $10 Billion Capital Project Fund Announced to Provide Affordable, Reliable, High-Speed Internet to over 200,000 Homes and Small Businesses: Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is also announcing the first state awards of the American Rescue Plan's $10 billion Capital Projects Fund for critical connectivity investments—like broadband infrastructure expansion—that enable work, education, and health monitoring. These first awards, totaling more than a half a billion dollars, will make resources immediately available to support Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia, and West Virginia in deploying infrastructure to connect over 200,000 homes and businesses to reliable internet service at download and upload speeds of at least 100 Mbps. Broadband infrastructure projects supported by Capital Project Funds must: Support delivery of reliable high-speed internet by requiring service that meets or exceeds speeds of 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload symmetrical upon project completion wherever practicable; Prioritize connecting families and businesses with poor and inadequate service, particularly in rural and remote areas; and Ensure affordability by requiring all service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission's new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more by providing a discount of up to $30 per month (up to $75/month on Tribal lands) and by encouraging states to further require that services provided by a Capital Projects Fund-funded Broadband Infrastructure Projects include at least one low-cost high-speed option. First four awards go to following states:
- Louisiana ($177 million) will provide funding to connect nearly 88,500 homes and businesses currently lacking access to internet at speeds of 25/3 Mbps through the state's new Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) program—a multi-phase, broadband infrastructure competitive grant program. Louisiana estimates that Capital Projects Fund-supported projects will close the digital divide for approximately 25 percent of all locations lacking high-speed internet access in the state.
- Virginia ($220 million) will expand high-speed internet access to more than 76,800 homes and businesses through a competitive grant-making program, closing the digital divide for approximately 28% of locations that still lack access to high-quality broadband service.
- West Virginia ($136 million) will provide high-speed internet access to 20,000 homes and businesses through three separate grant programs that focus funding for last-mile connections to homes and businesses currently without access to internet at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps, reaching approximately 10% of remaining locations that lack access to high-speed internet.
- New Hampshire ($50 million, 41% of their available allocation) will provide high-speed internet service to 15,000 homes and businesses through the state's new Broadband Contract Program targeting the most underserved rural parts of the state, reaching approximately 50% of locations that still lack access to high-speed internet.
State, local, and Tribal governments in over 40 states have already committed over $8 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to provide critical support for broadband infrastructure and Internet access: In addition to the $10 billion Capital Projects Fund, the American Rescue Plan provided state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments with critical resources to support a response to and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency—including investments in broadband infrastructure needed to connect their communities to work, education, health care, and civic opportunities available online.
With Fiscal Recovery Funds resources already in hand, many communities have already started making progress towards significantly expanding access to reliable, high-speed internet. To date, more than 230 state, local, and Tribal governments have budgeted more than $8 billion in Fiscal Recovery Funds to expand last-mile and middle-mile networks in their communities—including in rural and other areas that have traditionally lagged in connectivity—or to provide families assistance in affordably accessing high-speed services.
Examples of eight states and eight localities committing Fiscal Recovery Funds to improve access to reliable, high-speed internet:
- The State of California is investing over $500 million of Fiscal Recovery Funds as part of a larger initiative to fund grants for "last-mile" broadband infrastructure projects to provide affordable access to unserved households, anchor institutions and local governments.
- The State of Georgia has announced preliminary awards of over $400 million from Fiscal Recovery Funds to support 49 projects across 70 counties that could potentially serve more than 130,000 currently unserved homes and businesses with faster and more reliable broadband.
- The State of Montana has received applications for $266 million in available funding from Fiscal Recovery Funds to expand access to reliable broadband and close the digital divide throughout the state.
- The State of North Carolina has committed over $660 million in Fiscal Recovery Funds to deploy crucial last-mile broadband infrastructure to serve remaining unserved and underserved areas in the state, and expects to begin awarding up to $350 million of those funds beginning in July of 2022.
- The State of Washington has begun awarding $145 million in Fiscal Recovery Funds it has committed to help advance its goal of connecting all its residents to reliable, high-speed internet access by 2028.
- The State of Wisconsin provided $100 million towards 83 projects in 40 counties and 3 tribal lands that will expand fiber broadband internet to more than 28,000 homes and nearly 1,500 business locations that were either unserved or underserved.
- The State of Vermont has committed $150 million of Fiscal Recovery Funds to support and accelerate the state's goal of achieving universal access to reliable, high-quality, affordable broadband.
- The State of Virginia is awarding $479 million of Fiscal Recovery Funds along with state resources that will connect more than 200,000 households, businesses, and community anchor institutions to high-speed internet.
- Boone County, Kentucky leveraged over $10 million in Fiscal Recovery Funds to enter into agreement with an Internet service provider to construct fiber-to-the-premises high speed broadband infrastructure capable of delivering 1 gigabit speed service to every household in the county by roughly the end of 2023. The county will also address affordability with a strategic partnership with the incumbent service provider to authorize a discount on monthly service to individual subscribers.
- Yavapai County, Arizona is using $20 million in Fiscal Recovery Funds for the design, construction, implementation, and maintenance of telecommunications equipment and services providing "last mile" Internet access, with a focus on ensuring unserved or underserved households and businesses in unincorporated areas in Yavapai County receive high-speed broadband.
- Frederick County, Virginia will use $8.6 million to participate in a regional project to develop fiber-to-the-home broadband service, which includes eight localities. Broadband service will be made available to roughly 42,700 currently unserved locations in the region, including all locations in Frederick County that remain unserved by cable or fiber-to-the-home broadband. The project will leverage a partnership between the localities, the electric cooperatives, and a broadband provider.
- Florence County, South Carolina will use $4.5 million to bring new broadband service to more than 3,300 residential and business addresses that are unserved or underserved. Funds will support installation of a fiber-to-the-premises wireline broadband network capable of delivering 1 Gig speeds.
- Washtenaw County, Michigan is committing over $13 million in Fiscal Recovery Funds to expand affordable and equitable high-speed broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved communities as part of a larger investment intended to connect every household in the County to high-speed broadband infrastructure.
- Brownsville, Texas is using $19.5 million in Fiscal Recovery Funds to build out 95 miles of "middle-mile" infrastructure, including connecting 32 anchor institutions, and will partner with private providers to bring high-speed internet to its most underserved communities.
- Bowling Green, Kentucky is leveraging $16.5 million in Fiscal Recovery funds to seek bids on a fiber to the premises network that would provide Gig speed fiber connections to all homes and businesses in the city.
- Detroit, Michigan will begin construction this summer, using $10 million in Fiscal Recovery Funds, to pilot a fiber-to-the-home connectivity project to approximately 2,000 homes in the Hope Village neighborhood with affordable 1 Gig service.
The Emergency Connectivity Fund is helping over 10,000 schools, school districts, libraries, and consortia to close the homework gap and support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework, to ensure students across the country have the necessary support to keep up with their education
The American Rescue Plan's $7.2 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund is helping schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the pandemic, helping millions of students and closing the Homework Gap for those students who lack necessary Internet access or the devices they need to connect to classrooms.
The Emergency Connectivity Fund provides funding to schools and libraries for the reasonable costs of eligible equipment and services that can be provided to students, teachers, and library patrons who lack connected devices, such as laptop or tablet computers, and/or lack broadband access during the pandemic.
The Emergency Connectivity Fund has already committed nearly $4.9 billion, helping over 12.6 million students and providing schools and libraries with 10.5 million connected devices and over 5 million broadband connections. In May of 2022, following the closure of the program's final planned funding application window, the Federal Communication Commission announced that it would prioritize remaining funds to schools and libraries with the greatest need, with a preference for schools and libraries located in rural areas.
Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over $25 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funding to Help Ensure Every American Has Access to High Speed, Affordable Internet Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/356366