ILSR Community Broadband Networks Initiative Statement on BEAD Allocations Announcement

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Today, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced how it will allocate $42.5 billion in BEAD funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories.

At an “Investing in America” event today at the White House, President Biden noted that this “biggest investment in high-speed Internet ever” was noteworthy “because for today’s economy to work for everyone, Internet access is just as important as electricity was, or water or other basic services.”

And in a press statement, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communication and Information Alan Davidson, who is overseeing the NTIA program, added: “This is a watershed moment for millions of people across America who lack access to a high-speed Internet connection. Access to Internet service is necessary for work, education, healthcare, and more. States can now plan their Internet access grant programs with confidence and engage with communities to ensure this money is spent where it is most needed.” 

Our initial reaction is as follows:

"The BEAD allocations amount to the largest ever single federal investment to deploy needed Internet infrastructure across the United States. The question now is: how many states will maximize the moment and be inclusive of municipal broadband, public-private partnerships, and community-driven initiatives vs. those states who will simply dole out the funds to the big monopoly providers and hope for the best?”

“There's no real dispute any longer that high-speed Internet access is fundamental to fully participate in modern society, whether you're talking about education, employment or telehealth. More and more people are coming to realize that publicly-owned, locally-controlled networks tend to offer faster, more reliable, and affordable connectivity while generating tremendous economic and health benefits across an entire community.”

Find out how much each state was allocated here.

Other perspectives around the BEAD allocations we think are worth the read you can find here and here.