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The grants for internet access will expand America’s high-speed internet networks and digital equity as part of Investing in America.

Biden announces $930M in grants to expand internet access, digital equity


The grants will expand and strengthen America’s high-speed internet networks as part of the Investing in America agenda

Key points:

  • A new $930 million investment can help close digital equity gaps by expanding much-needed internet access across the nation
  • Middle mile internet infrastructure, which moves large amounts of data across vast distances, is an essential part of the grants
  • See related article: 5 strategies to tackle the homework gap

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced $930 million in grants aimed at expanding middle mile high-speed internet infrastructure across 35 states and Puerto Rico. The grants are part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. Under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative, the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program invests in projects that build regional networks that connect to national internet networks.

Middle mile internet infrastructure carries large amounts of data over long distances, increases capacity to local networks, boosts network resiliency, lowers the cost of bringing high-speed Internet service to unconnected households, and helps connect unserved regions to the Internet backbone.

“Access to internet is no longer a luxury and thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are taking action to close the digital divide for everyone in America. The Middle Mile program will invest more than $900 million in the infrastructure needed to connect communities, military bases, and Tribal lands to the Internet, lower the cost of access, and increase bandwidth,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Much like how the interstate highway system connected every community in America to regional and national systems of highways, this program will help us connect communities across the country to regional and national networks that provide quality, affordable high-speed Internet access.”

The $1 billion Middle Mile program funds construction, improvement, or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure, along with administrative costs associated with running the program. Middle mile projects do not directly connect end-user locations. Details of the awards are available at InternetForAll.Gov.

“The Middle Mile program is a force multiplier in our efforts to connect everyone in America,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communication and Information Alan Davidson. “Middle Mile infrastructure brings capacity to our local networks and lowers the cost for deploying future local networks. These grants will help build the foundation of networks that will in turn connect every home in the country to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service.”

New Middle Mile Grants

  • The middle mile projects will cover over 350 counties across 35 states and Puerto Rico.
  • The projects will deploy over 12,000 miles of new fiber that will pass within 1,000 feet of 6,961 community anchor institutions.
  • All projects use future-proof fiber as the primary technology.
  • Awardees are investing an additional $848.46 million of outside match funding into the projects.
  • Grants span from $2.7 million to $88.8 million, with an average award amount of $26.6 million.

Background on the Enabling Middle Mile Grant Program

  • Over 260 applications were submitted totaling $7.47 billion in funding requests.
  • Applications for the Middle Mile program were due by September 30, 2022. NTIA extended the application deadline to Nov. 1, 2022, for eligible entities that submitted applications for projects that would deploy in certain areas impacted by natural disasters.
  • To raise awareness of the program and guide prospective applicants, NTIA performed extensive outreach, including hosting 12 public office hour sessions, conducting four public webinars for prospective applicants, and participating in six industry-led conferences to discuss the Middle Mile program.
  • Eligible awardees for the program included states, Tribal governments, utility companies, telecommunication companies, and nonprofit entities. For a full list of eligible entities visit InternetForAll.Gov.

Additional grants will be announced on a rolling basis

Connecting all communities across the United States to high-speed Internet service is central part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and middle out by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. The Investing in America agenda is driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing investments and creating good-paying jobs.

NTIA thoroughly and objectively reviewed applications using a three-stage process: Initial Administrative and Eligibility Review of Complete Application Packets, Merit Review, and Programmatic Review. Reviewers evaluated applications according to the criteria set forth in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

Internet for All

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S. NTIA’s high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more affordable high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.

The Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Visit GetInternet.gov to learn more.

For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.

This press release originally appeared online.

Related:
4 ways school leaders can target the homework gap

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