Biden Unveils $42B Investment In Universal Internet Access
Joseph F. Kovar
‘You know, what we’re doing is, as I said, not unlike what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did when he brought electricity to nearly every American home and farm in our nation. … 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 was or water or other basic services,’ says U.S. President Joe Biden.
U.S. President Joe Biden Monday unveiled plans by the U.S. Department of Commerce to invest $42.45 billion to bring reliable and affordable high-speed internet access to everyone in the country.
The funding, with money slated to go to every state and territory in the U.S., will come through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, and is the largest internet funding announcement in history, according to the White House.
Each territory and state will receive a minimum of $27 million to provide the resources needed to connect every resident and small business to high-speed internet by 2030. The grants are slated to be as high as $3.3 billion, with 19 U.S. states slated to be allocated over $1 billion.
The grants will range from $27.1 million for the U.S. Virgin Islands to $3.3 billion for Texas.
The states and territories, including Washington, D.C., are expected to receive formal notice of their allocations on June 30, and will have 180 days after those notices to submit their initial proposals for running their own grant programs. Entities within each state or territory can begin submitting their initial proposals on July 1. Once an initial proposal is approved, the entity can access at least 20 percent of their allocated funds.
In addition to connecting U.S. residents to high-speed internet, the U.S. government expects the $42-billion-plus investment to spur job creation related to expanding manufacturing capacity to meet the demand caused by the grants.
This is not the first time the Biden administration has talked about investing in high-speed internet access for all U.S. citizens. The President in April of 2021 proposed investing $100 billion in building a “future-proof” infrastructure to bring highspeed broadband to all Americans as well as to schools and businesses in the country.
Biden, in a Monday briefing that touched on several topics including the high-speed internet access investment, called the move a major investment in bringing affordable, high-speed internet access across the country.
“You know, what we’re doing is, as I said, not unlike what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did when he brought electricity to nearly every American home and farm in our nation. … 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 was or water or other basic services,” Biden said.
About 24 million Americans across this country do not have access to high-speed Internet, while millions more face limited or unreliable internet connections, Biden said.
“It includes rural communities like Appalachia. … It includes tribal lands from Alaska to the Dakotas, coastal towns from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “It also includes suburban communities, even cities, neighborhoods, and where there’s a lot of people, you think it’s automatic, but some still have to use dial-up connections to get online. The funding for each state and territory is based on their specific needs, how many of their residents currently lack Internet access, and what it will cost to provide that access.”