US government spends 42 billion to close the digital divide29. June 2023
US government spends 42 billion to close the digital divide
The US government has announced more than $42 billion in federal funding to expand high-speed Internet access across the country, bridging the digital divide in underserved areas.
It’s one of the largest federal cash injections ever to bring disconnected businesses and homes online. Currently, 8.5 million households and small businesses, covering more than 7% of the country, do not have broadband internet access, defined as a minimum download speed of 25 megabits per second and upload speed of 3 Mbps.
Funds already allocated by Congress and administered by the Department of Commerce will be distributed through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program over the next two years. States and territories can begin applying for funds beginning July 1, with 20% of the grant unlocked upon approval.
The new funds will be allocated based on the FCC’s updated broadband maps, which show gaps in connectivity. Each state will receive at least $107 million, with 19 states receiving over $1 billion. The US territories have also been promised at least $25 million. Texas is likely to receive over $3.3 billion, the largest award, while California may receive more than $1.8 billion.