All 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico now have planning funds in hand
WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that Massachusetts 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. Massachusetts is receiving $6,003,760.60 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.
“Increased broadband infrastructure will close the digital divide in Massachusetts with a focus on connecting rural and underserved communities. I thank Governor Baker for the commitment to the Internet for All initiative," said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “All 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have now received these planning funds. In a matter of months, we’ll begin to see plans from around the country, detailing how each state will connect all their residents to high-speed, affordable Internet service."
Secretary Raimondo announced the awards alongside Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker during a news conference today.
“Too many communities across Massachusetts still lack access to reliable high-speed internet, which is critical for students to attend class, seniors to communicate with their doctors, and families and friends to stay connected,” said Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey. “With these funds, Massachusetts can continue unlocking the promise of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and take an important step toward closing the digital divide. I will continue to push for transformative investments to ensure that high-speed internet access is not a luxury reserved only for the wealthy, but is available to every person across the Commonwealth.”
“Our administration has prioritized efforts to connect all communities with broadband and high-speed internet access that is critical for economic growth, health care, education and so much more. We are deeply grateful to our federal partners for this additional support to build on those efforts,” said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. “These BEAD and Digital Equity Act funds will allow the Commonwealth to continue to engage with communities impacted by the digital divide to boost the rollout of new digital equity and broadband infrastructure programs. We are grateful to the Biden Administration, Secretary Raimondo, our congressional delegation and all our partners for their support and partnership on this critical issue.”
“8% of my district lacks access to reliable internet. In this day and age, where we live much of our lives online, that is simply unacceptable,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06). “Digital equity is critical for success in the 21st century, which is why this funding afforded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is so important. I look forward to seeing these grants put to good use as we work to deploy high-speed internet – and the skills to use it – to everyone in Massachusetts.”
“When I voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, it was not only to make long overdue investments in our roads and bridges to connect our state physically, but also to supercharge our nation’s broadband and digital networks to stay connected online,” said Rep. Lori Trahan (MA-03). “Whether it’s our students learning new skills and perspectives from online resources or our seniors meeting with their doctors through telehealth appointments, these infrastructure grants will make a real difference for thousands of people across the Commonwealth.”
“The programs we launched at the beginning of the pandemic focused on expansion of free public Wi-Fi hotspots and assistance for job seekers that needed supporting with affording service, finding an internet-enabled device, or accessing digital literacy training,” said Secretary Mike Kennealy of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. “The collaboration with municipal leaders and statewide partners were critical to the successes of both programs. These new funds will allow Massachusetts to roll out similar programs statewide, working with stakeholders to engage communities, to identify solutions, and rollout new programs.”
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 Massachusetts' 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.
Massachusetts will receive $4,999,996.99 to fund various activities including:
- Developing of a 5-year action plan to close the broadband Internet availability gap;
- Identifying unserved and underserved locations;
- Asset mapping across Massachusetts to catalog high-speed Internet service adoption, affordability, equity, access and deployment;
- Conducting community surveys to better understand barriers to Internet adoption;
- Developing a data-driven strategy to achieve universal broadband access;
- Creating a Massachusetts-specific digital needs assessment;
- Awarding subgrant funding to the MassTech/Massachusetts Broadband Institute.
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.
Massachusetts will receive $1,003,763.61 to fund various activities including:
- Developing a statewide digital equity plan to close the digital equity gap;
- Hiring a digital equity inclusion specialist to create and execute the digital equity strategy;
- Working with a consortium of higher education institutions;
- Engaging with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to seek advice and best practices.
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.