Colorado and New Mexico are approved to receive approximately $288 million under the American Rescue Plan and will connect nearly 60,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the approval of broadband projects in two additional states under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund: Colorado and New Mexico. Together, these states will use their funding to connect nearly 60,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet. A key priority of the Capital Projects Fund program is to make funding available for reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure.
The Capital Projects Fund 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 upended life as we knew it—from work to school to connecting with friends and family—and exposed the stark inequity in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country in rural, Tribal, and other underrepresented communities,” said Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo. “This funding will lay the foundation for the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments to increase access to high-speed internet and reduce internet bills for American households and businesses.”
“Access to affordable, resilient, and secure broadband is an essential necessity that opens economic opportunities, connects students to educational resources, and helps us stay connected to friends and family,” said New Mexico Senator Ben Ray Luján. “That’s why I’m proud to join the Biden administration in announcing $123 million in federal investments for broadband infrastructure projects. Through this grant funding, an estimated 40,611 locations within New Mexico are going to be outfitted with internet service, bringing our state closer to 100% connectivity.”
“The pandemic showed how central internet is to our lives, from connecting with family to telehealth,” said Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper. “This will finally connect rural Coloradans and Tribes.”
“As we continue to save people money on reliable, affordable internet, we are thrilled that this exciting federal grant will bring money-savings to an estimated 18,000 locations across Colorado, including homes, businesses, agriculture, and more, building upon our work to bring high-speed internet to 99% of Coloradans in the next five years,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “Affordable and accessible broadband connects Coloradans and strengthens our economy, and we are grateful for the federal government’s partnership on this important work.”
“By expanding broadband infrastructure, we’re also expanding access to health care, education, and economic opportunity in New Mexico communities, which is especially critical in a rural state like ours,” said New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “I’m incredibly grateful to the Biden administration and New Mexico’s congressional delegation for their work in securing these federal resources.”
In accordance with Treasury’s guidance, each state’s plan requires service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Affordable Connectivity Program. (ACP). The Affordable Connectivity Program 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 Affordable Connectivity Program, 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.
To date, 24 states have been approved to invest over $3.2 billion of CPF funding in affordable, reliable high-speed internet, which those states estimate will reach more than 765,000 locations.
The following descriptions summarize the two state’s plans that Treasury approved today:
- Colorado is approved to receive $170.8 million for broadband infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect 18,000 households and businesses – representing approximately 15% of locations still lacking high-speed internet access. Colorado’s award will fund the Advance Colorado Broadband grant program, a competitive grant program that is designed to deploy broadband internet service to households, businesses, community anchor institutions, and agricultural operations that currently lack access to reliable broadband that can meet or exceed 25/3 Mbps. Funding from CPF will help Colorado continue to areas of the state with the lowest levels internet service. The Advance Colorado Broadband grant program is designed to provide internet service with speeds of 100/100 Mbps symmetrical to households and businesses upon project completion. Each of the internet service providers funded by the program will participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) – a $30 per month subsidy for qualifying households. The plan submitted to Treasury and being approved today represents 100% of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program.
- New Mexico is approved to receive $117 million for broadband infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect an estimated 40,611 households and businesses – representing 21% of locations still lacking high-speed internet access. New Mexico’s award will fund the Connect New Mexico Broadband grant program, a competitive grant program that is designed to build broadband infrastructure to areas of the state without access to reliable wireline service. The Connect New Mexico Broadband program /is also designed to provide internet service with speeds of 100/100 Mbps symmetrical to households and businesses upon project completion. Each of the internet service providers funded by the program will participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) – a $30 per month subsidy for qualifying households. The plan submitted to Treasury and being approved today represents 88% of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program. New Mexico submitted plans for the remainder of their CPF funds and these applications are currently under review by Treasury.