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The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Turns One: A Progress Report on Internet For All
One year ago today, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which tasks the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with administering grant programs totaling more than $48 billion to connect everyone in America to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service. It’s a historic investment, providing resources to close the digital divide on an unprecedented scale. Because of these efforts, families across the U.S. will have expanded access to high-speed Internet service and digital skills training that will improve education, jobs, and healthcare.
The Internet For All initiative is moving with speed to deliver on the Infrastructure Act’s goal. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the first year, which includes:
- Crafting Notices of Funding Opportunity – ahead of Congress’ deadline – for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD); Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure; and State Digital Equity Planning Grant programs explaining how funding will be awarded and establishing application deadlines for states and territories.
- Obtaining applications from all eligible states and territories—56 in total—to participate in Internet For All.
- Securing 247 applications for Middle Mile program grants, which will reduce the cost of bringing high-speed Internet service to unserved and underserved communities.
- Awarding more than $1.5 billion in grants to Tribal entities and minority-serving institutions—including more than $300 million from the Infrastructure Act—to ensure communities that are often the hardest to reach can deploy high-speed Internet service.
- Calling more than 2,500 Internet service providers to encourage them to provide data for the forthcoming map of high-speed Internet availability from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on which NTIA will base its state budget allocations for the BEAD program.
- Hiring Federal Program Officers to cover every state and territory participating in Internet For All to ensure each has a point of contact within NTIA for help with their broadband funding needs.
- Co-hosting local coordination events in six states—and counting!
- Holding 20 listening sessions and office hours as well as 22 webinars to address concerns and questions from applicants.
- Hosting seven consultations with hundreds of Tribal leaders to solicit their input on program rules.
- Conducting more than 70 one-on-one technical assistance sessions for applicants of non-competitive programs.
- Responding to more than 360 inquiries across the BEAD, Digital Equity, and Middle Mile programs.
- Addressing state and local government stakeholder groups such as the African American Mayors Association, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women.
And next year, we’ll be doing even more to connect everyone in America to high-speed Internet service. On tap for 2023:
- Improving the functionality of internetforall.gov. That starts today as we roll out two new features:
- An interactive map detailing the BEAD and DE program status by state and territory; and
- A calendar highlighting past and upcoming events, searchable by state or territory.
- Determining, by June 30, 2023, the budget allocations each state and territory will receive to fund BEAD projects that will deploy Internet service to its residents, based on data from the FCC’s new National Broadband Map.
- Reviewing states and territories’ 5-year action plan for how they will award funding, how they will incorporate local stakeholder input, and how they will enable Internet service providers, local governments, and other stakeholders to challenge proposed project areas.
- Overseeing states’ initial proposals for the competitive grant process that will allow them to start receiving money and awarding grants to build out high-speed Internet service.
- Awarding funds through our Tribal Broadband Connectivity and Middle Mile grant programs.
Affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. The dedicated infrastructure funding from Congress represents a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to connect everyone in America to this essential service, and NTIA is moving quickly but carefully to ensure these funds are used wisely and efficiently to meet that goal.