US Government Announces $930 Million in Grants to Expand Internet Availability in the US

US Government Announces $930 Million in Grants to Expand Internet Availability in the US

The United States government has taken a significant stride in its ambitious mission to expand internet availability to every household in the country, according to a report by AP.

On Friday, it announced the allocation of $930 million in grants to address connectivity gaps in remote areas of Alaska, rural Texas, and various other locations.

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Middle Grants

These grants, known as middle mile grants, were unveiled by the Department of Commerce to establish large-scale networks that enable retail broadband providers to connect subscribers to the Internet.

Officials from the department drew a parallel between the middle mile infrastructure and the interstate highway system, emphasizing its role in establishing connections in various communities.

Mitch Landrieu, the White House’s infrastructure coordinator, highlighted the importance of these networks stating to AP, “These networks are the workhorses carrying large amounts of data over very long distances. They’re the ones that are bridging the gap between the larger networks and the last mile connections, from tribal lands to underserved rural and remote areas to essential institutions like hospitals, schools, libraries, and major businesses.”

The grants have been awarded to various recipients, including state government agencies, tribal governments, and telephone and electric cooperatives.

Their purpose is to stimulate the installation of approximately 12,000 miles (19,300 kilometers) of new fiber across 35 states and Puerto Rico.

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Largest Grant

Among the recipients, an Alaska-based telecommunications company secured the largest grant of nearly $89 million. The company aims to construct a fiber network in a remote region of the state, where approximately 55% of the population is not connected to basic internet services. 

President Joe Biden’s administration is implementing a range of measures to improve high-speed internet connectivity across the nation, and this expansion initiative is a key part of that endeavor.

The Middle Mile program, specifically, is regarded as an essential element in achieving universal internet access.

Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson from the Commerce Department highlighted the importance of these grants, expressing that the Middle Mile program catalyzes the administration’s mission to connect every individual in America.

He emphasized that the grants will play a pivotal role in establishing the fundamental networks necessary to connect every household in the country with affordable, reliable, and high-speed internet service. 

The availability of grants was made feasible by the allocation of $65 billion by Congress for broadband as a component of the $1 trillion infrastructure legislation enacted by President Biden in 2021.

A significant portion of these funds, totaling $42.5 billion, will be disbursed to states via the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, which relies on recently developed federal maps identifying areas with inadequate connectivity. 

States are expected to receive their allotments from BEAD by the end of this month. They will subsequently administer their own programs to identify recipients responsible for extending last-mile networks to unserved communities.

Upon receiving the funds, the beneficiaries of the middle mile grants disclosed on Friday (June 16) will be granted a period of up to five years to finalize their projects. In specific situations, they will have the option to request a one-year extension.


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