U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo will visit Durham, N.C., to announce the launch of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative, which will invest $45 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet for everyone in America by the end of the decade. The initiative will be administered and implemented by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
“In the 21st century, you simply cannot participate in the economy if you don’t have access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Americans across the country will no longer be held back by a lack of high-speed internet access. We are going to ensure every American will have access to technologies that allow them to attend class, start a small business, visit with their doctor, and participate in the modern economy.”
The programs will build internet infrastructure, teach digital skills, and provide the necessary technology to ensure that everyone in America – including communities of colour, rural communities, and older Americans – has the access and skills they need to fully participate in today’s society.
“The resources in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will allow us to bring broadband infrastructure to every corner of our country, make service affordable for everyone, and ensure users have the devices and digital skills they need,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “But in order to succeed, we need a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach – everyone who has a stake in our connected future should get involved now.”
“Generations before us brought electricity to rural America and built the interstate highways,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “Our generation’s task is to connect all Americans online. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, today NTIA is launching major new programs to promote Internet access and adoption so that everyone in America has a chance to thrive in the modern economy.”
The Internet for All programs launched today with three Notices of Funding Opportunity:
- Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program ($42.5 billion);
- Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program ($1 billion); and,
- State Digital Equity Act programs ($1.5 billion).
To participate in the BEAD Program, states and other eligible entities must submit a letter of intent and a planning funds budget, which will unlock $5 million in planning funds and allow states to begin creating their five-year action plan. Each state will have direct support from dedicated NTIA staff through every step of the process. Each participating state is guaranteed a minimum $100 million allocation, with additional funding determinations made based on the forthcoming coverage maps from the Federal Communications Commission.
The Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program will award grants on a technology-neutral, competitive basis to eligible entities for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of middle-mile infrastructure. Today’s launch of the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program kicks off a series of Digital Equity Act steps that will invest $1.5 billion to heighten adoption and use, like digital literacy training, for those who need it most, including communities of colour, rural communities, and older Americans.