The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced earlier this week that Louisiana will be the first state in the nation to receive federal grant planning funds to help states prepare for the deployment of high-speed Internet infrastructure and digital skills training under the Biden Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative.
Enabled by last year's passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the $2.9 million heading to the Pelican State is from the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act (DEA) – a development Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said was a signal that “the Internet for All initiative is on track and on schedule.”
Over the coming weeks, every state and territory will have funding in hand as they begin to build grant-making capacity, assess their unique needs, and engage with diverse stakeholders to make sure that no one is left behind. My thanks go to Governor Edwards and his team; Louisiana was among the first to sign onto Internet for All and to apply for funding, and I know they’re ready to get to work for the people of Louisiana.
According to NTIA’s press announcement, $2 million of the planning funds being allocated to Louisiana come from the BEAD program and will help the state:
- Identify unserved and underserved locations
- Support outreach to diverse stakeholders across the state
- Train employees administering the state’s broadband program
- Assist with asset mapping to track broadband adoption, affordability, equity, access and deployment activities
- Survey unserved, underserved, and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to adoption
- Ramp up efforts to support local coordination at the local and regional levels
The other $900,000 will come from the Digital Equity Act, also passed as part of IIJA. That money will fund Louisiana’s development of a statewide Digital Equity Plan; hire a Digital Equity/Inclusion Specialist to create and execute the state’s digital equity strategy; foster partnerships with a consortium of higher education...Read more