Recently, Gov. Spencer J. Cox and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced Utah has signed on to participate in the “Internet for All” initiative, which will invest $65 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet for everyone in America by the end of the decade.
Funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by NTIA, Internet for All programs will build internet infrastructure, teach digital skills, and provide the necessary technology to ensure everyone in America – including communities of color, rural communities, and older Americans – have the access and skills they need to participate in today’s society fully.
The Internet for All programs include three funding opportunities:
- Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program ($42.5 billion)
- Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program ($1 billion)
- State Digital Equity Act programs ($1.5 billion)
“The Internet For All initiative works to ensure all Utahns have equal broadband access regardless of income level, geographic location, and other factors,” said Rebecca Dilg, Utah Broadband Center director. “Go Utah is eager to sign on to this important program.”
To participate in the BEAD program, each state will submit a letter of intent and a planning funds budget to unlock $5 million in planning funds and allow states to begin creating a five-year action plan. Utah has submitted its letter of intent signed by the Governor. Each state will have direct support from dedicated NTIA staff through the process. Each participating state is guaranteed a minimum $100 million allocation, with additional funding determinations made based on the forthcoming coverage maps from the Federal Communications Commission.
“Generations before us brought electricity to rural America and built the interstate highways,” said Alan Davidson, U.S. Department of Commerce assistant secretary and head of the NTIA. “Our generation’s task is to connect all Americans online. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, states are joining NTIA in this major new program to promote Internet access and adoption so that everyone in America has a chance to thrive in the modern economy.”
The recent launch of the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program kicks off a series of Digital Equity Act steps that will invest $1.5 billion to heighten adoption and use, like digital literacy training, for those who need it most, including communities of color, rural communities, and older Americans. The Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program will award grants on a technology-neutral, competitive basis to eligible entities to construct, improve, or acquire middle-mile infrastructure.
For more information, please read NTIA’s “Internet for All” fact sheet.