The US government outlined a plan to invest $42 billion into delivering universal broadband access by 2030, seeking to address coverage gaps identified by the Federal Communications Commission.
In a statement, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) revealed plans to fund deployment of high-speed internet infrastructure in each state, territory and the District of Columbia through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) programme, part of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by congress in 2021.
Allocations will range from $27 million to more than $3.3 billion, with each state receiving a minimum of $107 million.
A total of 19 states will receive more than $1 billion when funds are doled out on 30 June. Government information identified Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington as the top-ten areas in terms of the sums due.
Reuters reported US President Joe Biden ranked broadband internet access alongside utilities including electricity and water in terms of importance, telling the news agency the planned investment was the “biggest” in US history.
CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker separately noted wireless is the fastest-growing home broadband technology in the nation and the industry will partner with states “to maximize the use of their BEAD funds and close the digital divide”.
Rhona Johnson, EVP of regulatory relations for AT&T, told Mobile World Live the announcement is “a momentous next step to ensure every American has access to high-speed internet”.