President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law brought together Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to better connect the American people through roads, bridges, airports, and the internet. The law included a $65 billion investment to ensure all Americans can access affordable, reliable, and high-speed internet – Internet for All. Reliable, high-speed internet is vital to work, learn, and compete in a 21st century economy, which is why the Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is launching the Internet for All initiative that includes three programs funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. NTIA has been tasked to lead this effort by working with states, localities, the private sector, nonprofits, and the American people to build the backbone of America’s high-speed internet infrastructure.
The pandemic shed light on what many Americans already knew: access to the internet is a necessity for everyday life. The Internet for All effort will meaningfully address fundamental economic, educational, social and health-related inequities in our country by connecting Americans and closing the digital divide.
NTIA’s Internet for All initiatives will provide a bottom-up, middle-out investment that will create an economy where Americans can participate from anywhere and compete everywhere.
Today, NTIA is launching three Internet for All funding opportunities:
- Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program ($42.5 billion)
- Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program ($1 billion)
- State Digital Equity Act programs ($1.5 billion)
Along with other federal investments, these programs will:
Connect All Americans to High-Speed Internet. Internet access is essential to thrive in the modern digital economy. For far too long, too many Americans have been left out or left behind because they don’t have access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet.
The BEAD Program will disperse $42.5 billion in grants to states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This historic investment will lay critical groundwork for the infrastructure needed to connect everyone, from big cities to small towns and everything in between.
The Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program will fund projects that increase local competition and innovation and create a more reliable connection for underserved communities across the country.
Close the Digital Divide. Beyond lacking access, many people in communities across the nation can’t afford Internet service, or they don’t have the skills necessary to effectively use the Internet or a connected device.
That’s why the BEAD Program will support planning, mapping, equity, and adoption projects. States and other eligible participants in the program will be required to submit a five-year action plan detailing their plan to connect all of their residents. These plans must be developed in collaboration with local and regional entities, so that everyone in America is included.
Additionally, the launch of the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program kicks off a series of Digital Equity Act steps that will invest $1.5 billion to heighten adoption and use, like digital literacy training, for those who need it most, including communities of color, rural communities, and older Americans.
Make the Internet More Affordable. Internet access is essential to participate in today’s economy. For far too long, too many Americans have been left out or left behind because they don’t have access to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet.
Connection and reliability don’t matter if Americans can’t afford the service. The FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program provides $30 per month, and $75 per month on Tribal lands, for qualifying households to purchase internet access. However, that funding may not cover the cost of service in many areas. That’s why the Administration has engaged with service providers to ensure that low-cost options provide reliable service for $30 per month or less, so those who are most in need can access the internet and join the economy.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also added an additional $2 billion to the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to connect more homes in tribal communities to high-speed Internet services and increase access to programs such as telehealth, distance learning, and affordability services. NTIA has already started to fund these projects.
Ensure that Children have Access to the Education they Deserve. During the pandemic, parents and children were asked to work and learn alongside one another at home – but far too many homes didn’t have internet access at the speeds and cost necessary to participate.
This created impossible situations, with some parents choosing which child could participate in school on any given day or choosing between their job responsibilities and their children’s education. The BEAD Program will ensure that every child in America has access to a reliable internet connection at the speeds needed to participate in modern educational programs.
The Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program will enhance competition, drive down prices and create a more reliable connection for underserved communities across the country. An expanded middle-mile infrastructure reduces the cost of bringing service to households and community anchor institutions, such as schools, libraries, and hospitals.
Expand Telehealth and Connect Vital Public Safety Services. For Americans who live in communities with slow or unreliable Internet connections, the COVID-19 pandemic posed an extraordinary challenge. Communities with limited or no access were left out and left behind without access to life-changing or life-saving technologies for education and telehealth.
The Internet for All programs funded by the Digital Equity Act will provide digital skills training and education to low-income populations, improve online accessibility of social services for individuals with disabilities and empower rural communities to measure their own broadband needs.
Create Good-Paying American Jobs. A highly trained, diverse workforce that can safely do their jobs will be essential to connecting everyone in America to high-speed internet. The Internet for All programs will create thousands of good-paying jobs, and NTIA will work with states, territories, and other partners to ensure that those jobs are accessible to a workforce that looks like America.
A fully connected America will be an America that’s safe, free, and primed for global economic success. Internet access makes it easier to learn new skills, open a business, see your doctor, or connect with family and friends.
For more information on how to participate in the funding programs, please visit InternetForAll.gov.