Portman, Bennet and King Highlight New Federal Grants Made Available to Help Provide Affordable High-Speed ​​Internet Access Nationwide

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Today’s Funding Announcement for Senators’ Bipartisan BRIDGE Act-Based Broadband Deployment Program


May 13, 2022

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Press Releases

WASHINGTON DC Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Angus King (I-ME) applaud the launch of three Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) totaling $45 billion for develop high-speed Internet for every American within the framework of bipartisanship Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (IIJA). Today, the administration announced the launch of three programs included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, including the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. dollars based on Portman, Bennet and King’s bipartisan bridge act, that the senators presented in June 2021.

“Too many rural and low-income communities in Ohio and across the United States lack affordable and reliable broadband access. Thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, states now have the necessary tools to roll out high-speed internet to areas that need it most, taking important steps to finally close the digital divide,” said Portman. “I am thrilled that my legislation with Senators Bennet and King was able to serve as the driving force in creating this one-of-a-kind program and I look forward to our folks at BroadbandOhio putting the Ohio program in place so that communities and suppliers can take full advantage of this great opportunity.

“Today’s announcement is part of the largest broadband investment in American history, and I’m more than pleased that it builds heavily on my BRIDGE Act with Senators King and Portman,” Bennett said. “This historic investment will extend the promise of broadband to students, workers, farmers and small businesses across the country, creating opportunity, transforming communities and enabling millions more people to fully participate in modern American life. “I want to thank my fellow Senators King and Portman. We would never have come this far without their tremendous leadership and partnership.”

“From the most rural areas of our country to our largest cities, access to affordable high-speed internet is essential to 21st century living – from education to business to basic communication,” mentioned King. “Today’s massive investment in broadband is an important step towards bridging the digital divide and ensuring that no family or small business is left behind by the opportunities these modern connections provide. . Fundamentally, mirroring our bipartisan BRIDGE Act, these funds will reach the rural, low-income, and all too often overlooked communities that need it most. I believe that nationwide affordable high-speed Internet access will be as revolutionary as rural electrification was in the 1940s. I am deeply grateful for the partnership of Senator Bennet and Portman on this vital issue. , to President Biden for delivering on the promises of our legislation, and to the Maine Connectivity Authority for the work they will do to deploy these historic funds.

As part of its efforts to bridge the digital divide, the three notices of funding opportunities include:

  • Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program ($42.5 billion);
  • Activation of the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program ($1 billion); and,
  • State Digital Equity Act programs ($1.5 billion).

To participate in the BEAD program, states and other eligible entities must submit a letter of intent and planning fund budget, which will unlock $5 million in planning funds and allow states to begin creating their plan. five-year action. Each state will have direct support from the National Telecommunications Information Agency (NTIA) every step of the way. Each participating state is guaranteed a minimum allocation of $100 million, with additional funding based on upcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) coverage maps, which are expected this fall.

The BEAD program is based on bipartisanship bridge act which Portman, Bennet and King introduced in June 2021 to provide flexible funding to states, tribal governments, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia to deploy affordable broadband networks and support local initiatives to promote the affordability, adoption and inclusion of broadband .

In February, Portman, King, Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME) led 16 bipartisan senators in encouraging NTIA Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson will follow Congressional intent by implementing the $65 billion included in the IIJA for broadband expansion efforts across the United States. In March 2021, Portman led a bipartisan letter to senior Biden administration officials for federal broadband policy, Senators Bennet, King and Manchin urging the Biden administration to increase and align broadband speeds and standards across the federal government .

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