President Joe Biden declared high-speed internet is no longer a luxury – it is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school, access health care, and to stay connected with family and friends. Yet, more than 8.5 million households and small businesses are in areas where there is no high-speed internet infrastructure, and millions more struggle with limited or unreliable internet options, according to the Democratic administration.
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are delivering on their commitment to connect everyone in America to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by the end of the decade with a $42.45 billion grant program, the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, which was created in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by the Department of Commerce.
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.
Florida had $1,169,947,392.70 allocated, and Florida Democrats are pointing out that Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted against the legislation. Broward College, Florida A&M University, and Miami Dade College were awarded millions, and $499,920 awarded to the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
“Access to high-speed internet, especially in our rural communities, has long served as a dividing line in our state,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. “With this historic $1.17 billion investment from the Biden-Harris administration, we will be able to close the gap and expand high-speed internet to nearly every family and farm across the state. During my time as Agriculture Commissioner, we outlined a 40-point plan to collaborate with the White House and drive infrastructure investment — and today, Florida Democrats stand ready to help President Biden finish the job.”
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.
Details related to the BEAD allocation for the states, D.C., and territories, as well as the total Federal investment in high-speed internet in each State and Territory are available here.
In addition to BEAD, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes:
- $14.2 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible households up to $30/month (up to $75/month on qualifying Tribal Lands) off their internet bill, as well as a one-time $100 toward a desktop, laptop or tablet computer offered by participating internet service providers. Thanks to commitments by over 20 internet service providers, millions of Americans are using the Affordable Connectivity Program to access internet for free. Today, 19 million Americans are enrolled in this program. Households can check their eligibility and sign up at GetInternet.gov.
- $2.75 billion for the Digital Equity Act, which provides grants to ensure communities have the skills and support needed to take advantage of high-speed internet connections;
- An additional $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, which provides grants to federally recognized Tribal governments, Tribal organizations, Tribal Colleges and Universities, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, and Alaska Native Corporations for high-speed internet deployment on Tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, high-speed internet affordability, and digital inclusion;
- $2 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Reconnect Program, which provides loans and grants primarily to build high-speed internet infrastructure in eligible rural areas;
- $1 billion for the Middle Mile Program, which provides funding for the “middle mile” backbone of internet networks.
President Biden’s American Rescue Plan also included over $25 billion for high-speed internet, including:
- The Department of Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF) provides $10 billion to states, territories, and Tribes for which high-speed internet is an eligible use. Today, over $7 billion has already been dedicated to high-speed internet deployment and connectivity across 45 states;
- The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) delivered funding across the country to support the response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. About $8 billion is being used by states, territories, Tribes, and local governments for high-speed internet deployment and connectivity; and,
- The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) $7 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund program helped schools and libraries close the “homework gap,” providing schools and libraries with 10.5 million connected devices and over 5 million internet connections.
Florida Democrats also couldn’t miss the opportunity to attack Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on the issue. “While Ron is busy running away from the problems he created for Floridians, President Biden continues to deliver for Floridians by bringing taxpayer money back to the communities that need it most,” added FDP Chair Fried.