American Rescue Plan program a key part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda to bring affordable, reliable, high-speed internet to all Americans
WASHINGTON – One year after announcing the first awards under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF), the U.S. Department of the Treasury has awarded approximately $6.7 billion for broadband, digital technology, and multi-purpose community center projects in 42 states, which those states estimate will reach more than 1.88 million businesses, homes and other locations. The effort is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the Biden Administration’s goal of bringing affordable high-speed internet to all Americans.
The CPF provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund broadband infrastructure projects that increase access to high-speed internet for millions of Americans. In addition to broadband infrastructure projects, some states like Kansas are investing in digital connectivity technology projects that aim to address gaps in digital equity, affordability, and broadband adoption, while other states – like Connecticut, Delaware, and Idaho – are using CPF resources to build and improve multi-purpose community centers where residents can access high-speed internet.
These American Rescue Plan dollars are working in tandem with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to close the digital divide as a part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda – deploying high-speed internet to those without access and lowering costs for those who cannot afford it. Already, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has delivered affordable high-speed internet to over 18 million American households.
See below for a roundup of local coverage on how these investments are impacting communities across the country
Arizona – Phoenix Business Journal: Federal grant could extend broadband to Arizona 127,000 homes, businesses
“The Treasury released $99.4 million in broadband funding to Arizona Tuesday, money that officials said could bring broadband internet service to an estimated 127,807 households and businesses around the state.
It is the first half of $190 million the state is expected to receive as its share of a $10 billion pandemic-era federal Capital Projects Fund, a program for ‘critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency.’
‘It helps ensure that communities that have long been overlooked and underserved by the federal government, including tribal communities throughout Arizona, have the opportunity to apply for and receive their fair share,’ [Senator] Sinema said during the White House call announcing the grants.”
Delaware – The News Journal: American Rescue Plan Act boosts Delaware community groups
“More than $65 million has been committed to 29 nonprofit organizations that offer education and job training opportunities in disadvantaged communities, invest in economic infrastructure like affordable housing and dedicate resources toward recovering learning losses suffered during the pandemic.
Gov. John Carney described it as an investment in the groups that ‘came up big during the pandemic’ helping fractured communities recover. As they’ve sought to help others, the organizations have had their own finances and staffing strained too.
Broadband availability has been a point of emphasis for the Biden administration after the pandemic laid bare its importance in remote work and learning.
Although some of the money directed to Delaware benefits organizations that provide public WiFi access, Delaware’s allocation is centered around organizations that ‘directly enable work, education, and health monitoring.’”
Illinois – Chicago Sun-Times: Illinois wins $253.7 million in federal funding to boost internet access in underserved areas
“During the pandemic, the issue of digital inequities in rural Illinois and parts of the Chicago area with high numbers of low-income residents became more important as much of everyday activity is conducted over the internet.
The $253.7 million in federal money — which is part of the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund — will connect 87,613 households and businesses, according to the state, which will cover about 25% of areas in Illinois without high-speed internet access.
Many low-income households may be eligible for internet discounts of up to $30 a month. The Biden administration has gotten pledges from 20 internet providers to offer high-speed service for not more than $30 a month.”
“The U.S. Department of Treasury granted the state $250.6 million for broadband infrastructure projects. The grant comes from the Capital Projects Fund.
The extended broadband infrastructure will target locations currently lacking access to internet with speeds of at least 100/20 megabits per second. In Michigan, it’s expected to reach an estimated 67,857 households or 23% of those currently lacking high-speed internet access in the state.
In total, the American Rescue Plan has $25 billion dedicated to high-speed internet funding. This is in addition to the $65 billion investment in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
Nebraska – Omaha World-Herald: Feds approve $87.7 million for more broadband access in Nebraska
“The U.S. Treasury Department announced Tuesday that it has approved $87.7 million for Nebraska to increase access to affordable broadband internet to an estimated 21,000 homes and businesses.
‘This new funding along with what is currently in place will make a big impact on helping to provide broadband to the unserved and underserved areas of our state,’ Commission Chair Dan Watermeier said in an email.
A spokesman for Gov. Pete Ricketts said Nebraska’s plan should help connect more than 20,000 homes and businesses with fast and reliable internet service.
‘It’s encouraging to see the federal government approve the State’s proposal to use these funds to expand broadband access in Nebraska,’ spokesman Justin Pinkerman said in an email.”
New Mexico – Albuquerque Journal: $117 million grant expected to expand high-speed internet across the state
“The U.S. Treasury Department is injecting another $117 million into New Mexico’s efforts to expand broadband – enough to reach about 21% of the locations in the state that lack access to high-speed internet service, according to state estimates.
The Democrats described it as a ‘down payment’ on efforts to provide access to high-speed internet to more homes and families and make it more affordable for those who already have it.
[Senator] Luján said the funding is expected to strengthen connectivity along interstates and major roads, in addition to boosting service in rural areas and tribal communities.”
Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Rural Pa. to benefit from $200M infusion from feds for broadband
“Some 44,000 homes and businesses across Pennsylvania will be the beneficiaries of a $200 million infusion of federal cash aimed at expanding broadband access across the commonwealth.
The money from the American Rescue Plan is expected to particularly boost rural communities across the state, where access to high-speed internet still remains problematic.”
“More than $350 million in grants was awarded to the Texas Comptroller’s Office to increase access to affordable, high-speed internet.
The funds, administered through the federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, will bring service to about 152,000 locations across the state.
‘The most recent U.S. Census Bureau data indicate that almost 2.8 million Texas households — including 7 million people — lack broadband access,’ Comptroller Hegar said. ‘Twenty-three percent of Texans are unable to attend online classes, see a health care provider from their living room, fill out a job application online, start a business or access online marketplaces from their kitchen table. These barriers negatively affect Texans’ quality of life and limit economic opportunities for individuals and the state overall. This grant will help my office address these critical needs and inequities by providing competitively awarded funding to projects bringing reliable broadband to unserved and underserved communities.’”
West Virginia – The Intelligencer: West Virginia Among First States Approved for ARPA Broadband Funding
“‘When you think about reliable, affordable, dependable, broadband access, it’s critical, absolutely critical, for West Virginians and anybody in America to do their jobs, complete their homework, keep up with their healthcare appointments and to compete in a 21st century economy,’ [Senator] Manchin said.
According to the U.S. Treasury, more than $136 million was allocated to West Virginia, with the state being approved to spend the full amount. The funding will help expand high-speed broadband to 20,000 locations, or 10 percent of locations in the state that lack access to broadband.
Including previous funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program, West Virginia is sitting on more than $1 billion dollars for broadband expansion. That’s not including the $100 million the state is expected to receive for broadband from the $1.2 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress in November.”
Wyoming – SweetwaterNOW: Wyoming Receives Funding to Connect Over 11,000 Businesses to Internet
“Governor Mark Gordon announced that Wyoming has been awarded $70.5 million in federal funds for broadband infrastructure in locations that lack access to adequate service. The American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF) will deliver high-speed internet service to an estimated 11,700 Wyoming homes and businesses.
‘These funds will help Wyoming address many of the challenges laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in rural areas of our state,’ Governor Gordon said. ‘We will utilize these funds to ensure Wyoming communities and businesses have access to the high-quality, modern infrastructure they need to access critical services.’
Estimates show that CPF investments will serve approximately 20 percent of locations still lacking high-speed internet access across the state.”