WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that Connecticut received its first “Internet for All” grants for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative. Connecticut is receiving $5,736,568.10 in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden, to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the state.
"High-speed Internet access provides Connecticut residents with critical resources and opportunities such as jobs, education, and healthcare," said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. "I commend Governor Lamont for his support of the Internet for All initiative."
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson announced the grants today alongside Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and Rep. Jahana Hayes in a virtual press conference.
“Universal access to affordable, high-speed Internet is a critical component of life in the 21st century,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “While we have made significant strides through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to close gaps in internet access across Connecticut, these new planning grants are a significant commitment to closing the digital divide. These funds will allow state and local leaders to continue that important work and ensure that every person in our state has access to affordable and reliable broadband.”
“These awards will directly support the important work already underway in Connecticut to make sure every Connecticut resident can get online and get ahead,” Governor Lamont said. “Access to fast, reliable, internet has become a requirement in modern life, and we’re working hard to expand access so that no one gets left behind as we transition toward this increasingly digital future. Last year’s broadband bill and our Everybody Learns initiative helped position our state to take advantage of federal programs such as the Digital Equity Program and BEAD, and I am excited to see how these funds can help make a difference in the lives of Connecticut residents.”
“Access to reliable high-speed internet is not a luxury. For many of my constituents, particularly in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut, it is a matter of health and safety. As evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, broadband internet is necessary for work, school, to stay connected, and receive health care,” said Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05). “Funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the BEAD Program and the Digital Equity Program will help ensure communities across Connecticut have access to the tools necessary to participate in our growing digital economy. I am pleased to have voted in support of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and to direct federal funding to Connecticut which continues to be of incredible benefit to our state.”
“As part of a years-long effort to close the digital divide, we secured the necessary investments to ensure every home and business in the state has access to the internet by passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Congress,” said Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01). “I am thrilled to stand with Governor Lamont and the entire Connecticut delegation today to announce this Five-Year Action Plan to make affordable broadband coverage for all Connecticut residents a reality.”
“Broadband connectivity is essential to living in today’s digital world,” said Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes. “These programs will provide lasting solutions for the communities they serve, enabling all those who live, learn, and work in the state to access the economic and social benefits of affordable, high-speed Internet. DEEP is committed to a high level of community engagement throughout the lifetime of these programs.”
“The BEAD program enables us to make great strides toward Governor Lamont’s goal of universal access to high-speed broadband,” said Kevin Pisacich, DEEP’s director of the Office of Telecommunications and Broadband. “The BEAD planning funds will enable us to build a roadmap and adopt strategies, goals, and measures to bridge the access gap once and for all.”
All 50 U.S. states and six territories applied for planning grant funding for the Internet for All initiative's Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act program. Grant awards for all 56 eligible entities will be announced on a rolling basis.
About Connecticut’s Planning Grants
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program
The BEAD Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.
Connecticut will receive $5 million to fund various activities including:
- Creation of a Five-Year Action Plan that identities Connecticut's broadband access, affordability, equity, and adoption needs;
- Identification of unserved and underserved locations;
- Planning and capacity-building of the state's broadband office;
- Local engagement with unserved, underserved, and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to adoption.
The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The first part of NTIA’s execution of the Digital Equity Act is to fund digital equity planning efforts.
Connecticut will receive $736,568.10 to fund various activities including:
- Creation of a Connecticut Digital Equity plan;
- Hiring of a Digital Equity Program Manager and equipping that individual with tools and support to ensure success in implementing the state's digital equity plan;
- Establishing a core digital equity planning team of eight to ten members, including the State's BEAD program lead;
- Conducting a needs and assessment plan;
- Engagement to solicit input from residents and leaders from across the state.
Internet for All
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.
Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to learn more.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.