Discover how the Biden administration is narrowing the digital divide in rural America, injecting $930 million in grants for high-speed internet infrastructure across 35 states and Puerto Rico.
- The Biden administration is investing $930 million in rural broadband expansion across 35 states and Puerto Rico through the Department of Commerce’s “Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program.”
- The government anticipates the grant recipients to invest an additional $848.46 million, effectively doubling the program’s reach and impact.
- This infrastructure upgrade will bolster regional and national networks, creating new economic opportunities and enhancing safety in underserved communities.
A Giant Leap Forward for Rural America: Biden’s Administration Announces $930 Million Broadband Expansion
Within the veins of rural America, a new lifeline is being laid, paving the way for digital transformation and connectivity. President Biden‘s administration on Friday released an ambitious plan, setting aside $930 million in grants intended to extend the reach of broadband internet to the country’s heartland. The funds are part of the Department of Commerce’s “Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program,” aiming to stretch more than 12,000 miles of new fiber optic cables across 35 states and Puerto Rico.
Doubling the Impact through Strategic Investments
The government’s initiative expects the grant beneficiaries to further invest a whopping $848.46 million, an approach poised to double the program’s effectiveness. Just as the interstate highway system brought physical connectivity to American communities, this effort seeks to weave the digital threads of affordable, high-speed internet access across the country, affirmed Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
A Competitive Push towards Digital Empowerment
More than 260 applications flooded the Commerce Department for the Middle Mile Grant Program, totaling a staggering $7.47 billion in funding requests. The grants primarily fuel telecom and utility companies, although tribal governments and nonprofits also secured a slice of the pie. In Alaska alone, one telecommunications firm is gearing up to build a fiber optic network for an area where over half of the population currently lacks internet access, thanks to a grant worth $88.8 million.
These investments signal much more than a simple tech upgrade. The projects are expected to stimulate local economies while fortifying safety measures in the face of increasing climate crisis and natural disasters. As Mitch Landrieu, the White House infrastructure coordinator, explains, they create an internet freeway with multiple routes, improving network resilience during emergencies.
High-speed internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. That’s why my Administration is investing in expanding access to affordable high-speed internet to close the digital divide.https://t.co/Mxd81tjeEg.
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 17, 2023
Closing the Digital Gap: An Agenda for America
Biden’s administration aims to close the rural digital divide with a series of initiatives. Early last year, the Federal Communications Commission rolled out an accountability program to ensure the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is properly allocated. Similarly, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced over $930 million to expand high-speed internet infrastructure as part of the President’s “Investing in America” agenda.
Under the Biden-Harris “Internet for All Initiative”, the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program seeks to build regional networks that connect unserved regions to the national internet backbone. Gina Raimondo, the Secretary of Commerce, lauded the initiative as “a force multiplier in our efforts to connect everyone in America.”
Further grants will be rolled out progressively, marking an important step in the “Investing in America” agenda, aimed at stimulating over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing investments and job creation. The government’s steadfast commitment to digital equity and inclusion shines brightly in this initiative, marking a pivotal moment in America’s quest for nationwide internet access.
The “Internet for All” program exemplifies the government’s commitment to digital equity, with a historic $65 billion earmarked for affordable and reliable high-speed internet access in communities across the U.S. It underscores the Biden-Harris administration’s vision for a digitally empowered America, where every household has the opportunity to join the digital age, regardless of their geographical location.