Treasury’s approval of a second round of funding for New Hampshire completes its total Capital Projects Fund award of $122 million to connect more than 24,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the approval of an additional $66 million in broadband funding for New Hampshire under the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF). New Hampshire was among the first four states to receive CPF funding from Treasury, which approved its first award of $50 million in June. Today’s approval completes New Hampshire’s $122 million total award, which the state estimates will help connect more than 24,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.
A key priority of the Capital Projects program is to make funding available for reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure and other digital connectivity technology projects, furthering President Biden’s goal for every American to have access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet.
The CPF provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency. In addition to the $10 billion provided by the CPF, many governments are using a portion of their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) toward meeting the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of connecting every American household to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. Together, these American Rescue Plan programs and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are working in tandem to close the digital divide – deploying high-speed internet to those without access today and lowering costs for those who cannot afford it.
“The pandemic exposed longstanding challenges that workers and families face when they don’t have adequate access to the internet, especially those living in rural areas and other unconnected communities. That is why the Biden-Harris Administration’s broadband investments across the country are so critical,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “This funding through the American Rescue Plan will help provide affordable, high-speed internet service to communities across New Hampshire, including the most rural parts of the state. We commend New Hampshire for targeting this funding to places where it is most urgently needed across the state.”
“Today’s announcement marks a major investment in New Hampshire that will support families, small businesses, and our entire economy,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “Expanding access to strong, affordable internet access will help Granite State communities thrive, which is why I led the efforts to secure this funding as part of the American Rescue Plan. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to boost New Hampshire’s economy.”
“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is essential for all Granite Staters, which is why I’m thrilled to announce this federal funding headed to New Hampshire to get us even closer to closing the digital divide and ensuring every family and small business in our state has access to the broadband services they need to thrive,” said Rep. Kuster, a member of the House Rural Broadband Task Force. “This funding, made possible by the American Rescue Plan, represents a significant investment in our state’s economy and all Granite Staters. I’ll continue working to ensure all Granite State students, employees, and businesses have the connections they need.”
“These funds will help more communities make vital investments in broadband: boosting our local economies, improving education, and ensuring quality of life remains high,” said Representative Chris Pappas. “Access to high-speed internet is essential to compete and thrive in the 21st century, and I was proud to help pass the American Rescue Plan to secure these funds for New Hampshire. I’ll keep working to deliver additional resources to New Hampshire until all of our communities can access the funding they need to make sure high-speed broadband is available to all.”
New Hampshire was approved for additional CPF funding to support the broadband infrastructure programs that the state will implement using CPF funds. New Hampshire’s second program, the Broadband Matching Grant Initiative (BMGI), is a competitive grant program designed to fund broadband infrastructure projects to bring high-speed internet to areas currently lacking service of 100/20 Mbps. The BMGI will provide a state match to either an internet service provider (ISP) or New Hampshire municipality to build internet infrastructure in areas of the state that, because of their topography, location, or cost, have not been able to access broadband internet. The BMGI’s match is designed to alleviate the fiscal impact of community-driven broadband investment for both the ISPs and municipalities, as well as reduce the reliance on bonding. As with all CPF funded broadband grant programs, New Hampshire’s program is designed to provide internet service with speeds of 100/100 Mbps symmetrical to households and businesses upon project completion.
In accordance with Treasury’s guidance, New Hampshire’s plan requires service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP helps ensure that households can afford the high-speed internet they need for work, school, healthcare, and more by providing a discount of up to $30 per month (or up to $75 per eligible household on Tribal lands). Experts estimate that nearly 40% of U.S. households are eligible for the program.
To further lower costs, President Biden and Vice President Harris announced the Administration had secured commitments from 20 leading internet service providers—covering more than 80% of the U.S. population—to offer all ACP-eligible households high-speed, high-quality internet plans for no more than $30 per month. As a result, ACP-eligible households can receive internet access at no cost and can check their eligibility for free internet and sign up at GetInternet.gov.
In addition to requiring funding recipients to participate in the ACP, Treasury’s guidance requires recipients to consider whether the federally funded networks will be affordable to the target markets in their service areas and encourages recipients to require that a federally funded project offer at least one low-cost option at speeds that are sufficient for a household with multiple users.