WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that Washington 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. Washington is receiving $6,076,248.79 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.
"Internet connectivity is imperative to access educational and economic opportunities," said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. "These grants will provide Washington with the resources it needs to begin breaking down barriers to high-speed Internet service. I commend Governor Inslee for his commitment to providing Internet service to all in Washington, particularly those in historically underserved and unserved rural communities."
“Every American deserves and needs equal access to the internet to succeed, as well as the tools and skills to take advantage of that connection,” said Washington Sen. Patty Murray. “I wrote the Digital Equity Act—and fought to have it included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—because I knew that for far too many in Washington state, getting online, and making the most of your connection, isn’t an easy thing to do. These grants are an investment in our families, our workforce, and our overall competitiveness in the 21st century economy. It’s great to see the first of this funding from my bill head to our state.”
“We know that having quality and affordable internet service bridges educational and economic opportunity gaps, and that these grants will help to ensure that more Washingtonians receive reliable and equitable internet service,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “I thank Secretary Raimondo and the Biden-Harris Administration for awarding Washington this historic investment, which will strengthen community connectivity and make it easier for families and individuals to receive critical resources and information.”
“Washington state is a global technology hub but some of our communities still struggle with access to affordable broadband. A reliable internet connection is a necessity in the 21st century to live, work, and learn from home. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is modernizing traditional structures like roads and bridges but also delivering on the promise of affordable broadband for all Americans. These investments will help Washington begin to fill in our broadband gaps so families and businesses can have affordable internet access regardless if they are in Kirkland or Concrete,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01). “We've learned over the last few years that access to the internet is not just about whether you can watch streaming holiday movies on Netflix. It's about whether you can have a telehealth visit. It's about the ability to take an online class. It's about the ability to operate a business remotely. And for too many folks in our neck of the woods, they can't do these things because they don't have adequate internet access,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06). “With federal dollars from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re bridging the digital divide and creating new opportunities."
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to pay dividends for working people across our country. The pandemic has revealed why reliable internet is important for working families’ ability to thrive, including for remote workers, for patients to have more flexible options to see their doctors, and for students of all ages to fully access an equitable education. The BEAD and Digital Equity Programs will allow Washington State to expand its high-speed internet access while centering equity and inclusion of our marginalized communities,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). “I am thrilled that Washington State was awarded these grants, and grateful to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration and the Department of Commerce for their continued work on this vital issue. I look forward to continuing our work together to deliver reliable and high-speed internet to working families across my state and the country.”
“Congratulations to the Washington State Department of Commerce on receiving two federal grants to expand equitable broadband access across the state. Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to support Washingtonians who need reliable access to affordable high-speed internet,” said Rep. Marilyn Strickland (WA-10).
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 Washington’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.
Washington will receive $5 million to fund various activities including:
- Identification of unserved and underserved locations in the state;
- Training of employees and capacity-building of the broadband office;
- Ensuring broadband projects do not result in overbuilding areas;
- Collaborating with local, regional, and Tribal entities, as well as unions and worker organizations;
- Asset mapping across Washington to catalog high-speed Internet service adoption, affordability, equity, access and deployment;
- Surveying communities to better understand barriers to Internet service 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.
Washington will receive $1,076,248.79 to fund various activities including:
- Developing a statewide digital equity plan;
- Hiring new team members and contracting with a vendor to assist with plan development;
- Conducting a digital literacy survey;
- Convening a state digital equity forum to identify barriers to digital equity.
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.