The states will use their funding through the Capital Projects Fund to connect more than 91,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the approval of broadband projects in an additional group of three states under the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF): Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Together, these states will use their funding to connect more than 91,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet. A key priority of the CPF program is to make funding available for reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure.
The CPF provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency. In addition to the $10 billion provided by the CPF, many governments are using a portion of their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) toward meeting the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of connecting every American household to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. Together, these American Rescue Plan programs and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are working in tandem to close the digital divide – deploying high-speed internet to those without access today and lowering costs for those who cannot afford it.
“The pandemic upended life as we knew it—from work to school to connecting with friends and family—and exposed the stark inequity in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country, but especially in rural, Tribal, and low-income communities,” said Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo. “This funding will lay the foundation for the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments to increase access to high-speed internet and reduce broadband bills for American households and businesses.”
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, broadband is essential to our daily life,” said Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts. “To be offline in our digitally connected world is to be excluded from opportunity and disconnected from the community. With this $145 million grant from the Capital Projects Fund, Massachusetts is one step closer to finally closing the Digital Divide. I want to thank the Treasury Department and the Capital Projects Fund for this funding and for their hard work in delivering high-speed broadband to all corners of the United States.”
“Internet access is essential in today’s economy. I helped pass new federal laws to close the digital divide for mid-Michigan families, students and small businesses. I am proud to see these laws put into action, expanding broadband access across our state,” said Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05).
“The COVID-19 crisis changed how we worked and learned, making us even more reliable on the internet. In Michigan, many families were left behind because too many of our rural and low-income communities did not have high-speed internet. Today’s investment will connect 67,857 Michigan households and businesses. We all worked together to get the American Rescue Plan across the finish line and it’s exciting to see the results here in Michigan,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
“I voted for the American Rescue Plan because it supports Wisconsin families, small businesses, and students across our state,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. “This investment from the Biden Administration will help us deliver reliable high-speed broadband so all Wisconsinites can get the telehealth they need, work from home, and participate in remote learning, all while creating good-paying jobs along the way.”
In accordance with Treasury’s guidance, each state’s plan requires service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP helps ensure that households can afford the high-speed internet they need for work, school, healthcare, and more by providing a discount of up to $30 per month (or up to $75 per eligible household on Tribal lands). Experts estimate that nearly 40% of U.S. households are eligible for the program.
To further lower costs, President Biden and Vice President Harris announced the Administration had secured commitments from 20 leading internet service providers—covering more than 80% of the U.S. population—to offer all ACP-eligible households high-speed, high-quality internet plans for no more than $30 per month. As a result, ACP-eligible households can receive internet access at no cost and can check their eligibility for free internet and sign up at GetInternet.gov.
In addition to requiring funding recipients to participate in the ACP, Treasury’s guidance requires recipients to consider whether the federally funded networks will be affordable to the target markets in their service areas and encourages recipients to require that a federally funded project offer at least one low-cost option at speeds that are sufficient for a household with multiple users.
The following descriptions summarize the five state’s plans that Treasury approved today:
- Massachusetts is approved for $145 million for broadband infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect 16,000 households and businesses – representing 27% of locations still lacking high-speed internet access. Massachusetts’ award will fund the Broadband Infrastructure Gap Networks Grant Program (Gap Networks Grant Program), a competitive grant program designed to address gaps in broadband infrastructure where reliable broadband service is currently unavailable. Funding from CPF will help Massachusetts continue its efforts to bridge the Commonwealth’s remaining digital divide. The Gap Networks Grant Program is designed to provide internet service with speeds of 100/100 Mbps symmetrical to households and businesses upon project completion. The plan submitted to Treasury and being approved today represents 83% of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program. Massachusetts submitted plans for the remainder of their CPF funds and these plans are currently under review by Treasury.
- Michigan is approved to receive $250.6 million for broadband infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect 67,857 households and businesses – representing 23% of locations still lacking high-speed internet access. Michigan’s award will fund the Michigan Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) program, a competitive grant program designed to provide funding to extend broadband infrastructure and service to locations currently lacking access to at least 100/20 Mbps. ROBIN is designed to provide internet service with speeds of 100/100 Mbps symmetrical to households and businesses upon project completion. The plan submitted to Treasury and being approved today represents 100% of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program.
- Wisconsin is approved to receive $40 million for broadband infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect 8,000 households and businesses. The state’s award will fund the Wisconsin Broadband Infrastructure Projects program, a competitive grant program that aims to invest in broadband infrastructure projects designed to provide consistent, reliable service to households that currently lack consistent speeds of 100/20 Mbps. The program is designed to provide internet service with speeds of 100/100 Mbps symmetrical to locations upon project completion. The plan submitted to Treasury and being approved today represents 21% of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program. Wisconsin submitted plans for the remainder of their CPF funds and these plans are currently under review by Treasury. Wisconsin’s CPF funds will complement $100 million in American Rescue Plan funds the state has already committed for its State Broadband Expansion Grant Program using a portion of its State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund allocation, which it estimates will serve more than 31,000 residential and business locations.