Biden Unveils Grants Worth $930M to Enhance Basic Internet Connectivity

President Joe Biden announced $930 million in grants on Friday aimed at expanding access to broadband access in rural America. The “Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure” grants cover 35 states and Puerto Rico as part of the Department of Commerce’s program to bring high-speed internet access and large amounts of data across long distances.

Verizon, Spectrum, AT&T, and Optimum are among the 20 internet providers that have partnered with the White House on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to bring high-speed internet access to people in need for $30 per month or less, but for qualifying households, there will be no cost. Individuals can check their eligibility and apply for the free service at

“These networks are the workhorses carrying large amounts of data over very long distances,” Mitch Landrieu, the White House infrastructure coordinator, told AP News. “They’re the ones that are bridging the gap between the larger networks and the last mile connections, from tribal lands to underserved rural and remote areas to essential institutions like hospitals, schools, libraries, and major businesses.”

In the program’s biggest award, the Department of Commerce pledged $89 million to one Alaska telecommunications company to fund a supply of fiber-optic networks in parts of the state where 55% of residents have no internet. Another large grant, $73 million, is going to a California company, and $61 million is destined for a Michigan telco. Grant winners have five years to finish the promised broadband networks.

The are one piece of the designated $65 billion in funding to connect rural communities and retail broadband providers iout of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill Biden signed into law in 2021.

“Middle mile infrastructure is the connective tissue that links the networks that serve homes and businesses,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson told AP News. “NTIA’s Middle Mile Program is a force multiplier for connectivity and will be essential to delivering a cost-efficient Internet for All. The volume of applications we received demonstrates the high demand for increasing middle mile capacity throughout the country.”

The Department of National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced in an October press release that it had received more than 235 applications for the program, and is now behind the newest effort for the “Internet for All” grant which will reach 350 counties, according to officials.

“Digital connectivity is central to expanding economic opportunity in communities across the country,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a press release. “This funding is a key piece of the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments to increase access to high-speed internet for millions of Americans and provide more opportunities to fully participate in the 21st-century economy.”

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