WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that California 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. California is receiving $8,998,027 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.
"These grants will help bridge the digital divide in California so residents will have access to fast, affordable Internet service,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “It is vital that all Californians can connect online for school, work, and health. I applaud Governor Newsom for working to address the needs of tribal communities, students, and workers in underserved and unserved communities."
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson announced the grants today in a virtual press conference with the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Department of Technology and the California Government Operations Agency.
“California is committed to expanding access to high-speed broadband internet across the state so that all our communities can thrive in today’s digital world,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “California has made historic investments to tackle the digital divide and this commitment from the Biden-Harris Administration strengthens the work underway throughout the state to advance broadband for all, with a focus on unserved and underserved communities. We’ll continue our progress with partners at every level to ensure that all Californians have the reliable broadband connection they need to succeed in school, at work and beyond.”
“Reliable, affordable, and accessible high-speed internet is this day and age is an essential utility – not unlike electricity or water or gas – a basic need that can help end cycles of poverty and ensure upward mobility in California and across the country. When I voted to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I did so knowing how much our state needs investment to modernize these public goods – a vital part of our work to build an economy that works for everyone. I am thrilled those programs are coming to fruition so quickly, and that these two public organizations that keep millions of families connected to vital services will now be able to move full-speed-ahead on their plans to bring high-speed internet to every Californian,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28).
“Broadband internet is essential for Americans to work, learn, and stay connected, which is why it is unacceptable that about one in five Californians are without access,” said Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11). “I am proud to have supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will help close this digital divide and ensure no American is without internet access.”
“I’ve seen firsthand how the digital divide affects communities here in California. We’re grateful to the Biden administration for supporting the state and federal partnerships that are needed for planning and implementing projects and programs across the state,” said California Secretary of Government Operations Amy Tong.
“I’m thrilled that once again the state of California and our federal partners have come together to focus on a critical issue. This is one more step toward achieving digital equity throughout California,” said Liana Bailey-Crimmins, California State Chief Information Officer and Director of the California Department of Technology.
“The grants announced today are a critical part of California’s commitment to Broadband for All,” said California Public Utilities Commission President Alice Reynolds. “This funding will allow California to build a foundation for sustainable networks that will offer future-proof, reliable, and affordable service to unserved and underserved regions of the state.”
“Closing the digital divide does not have a one-size-fits-all solution,” said California Public Utilities Commissioner Darcie L. Houck. “Through the BEAD program, we will engage with the stakeholders who understand the communications needs of their communities and the specific barriers that prevent access to vital communications services. We are excited to further our partnerships with these entities in our efforts to connect all Californians.”
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 California’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.
California will receive $4,996,502 to fund various activities including:
- Identification of unserved and underserved locations;
- Planning and increasing capacity of the state broadband office;
- Asset mapping across the state to catalogue high-speed Internet adoption, affordability, equity, access and deployment;
- Surveying communities to better understand barriers to high-speed Internet service adoption;
- Awarding community planning grants to support regional broadband planning;
- Supporting the development of a 5-year action plan.
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.
California will receive $4,001,525 to fund various activities including:
- Developing a California digital equity plan;
- Establishing a state digital equity task force and creating priority area subcommittees;
- Conducting a statewide digital equity survey;
- Soliciting public comment through the Broadband for All Portal.
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.