Combined with other Administration initiatives, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has brought affordable internet to over 17 million American households
SAN BERNARDINO, CA — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the approval of $540.2 million for high-speed internet projects in California under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF), part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda – the largest single-infusion of broadband funding to a state under CPF. The state will use its funding to connect approximately 127,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet. To recognize this milestone, White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling and U.S. Representative Pete Aguilar (CA-33) held an event in the Orchid Drive neighborhood of San Bernardino, CA, composed of single and multi-family homes which have benefited from last-mile broadband investments.
A key priority of the CPF program is making funding available for broadband infrastructure, advancing President Biden’s goal of affordable, high-speed internet for everyone in America. Already, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has delivered affordable high-speed internet to 17 million American households through the CPF funded by the American Rescue Plan, and through the Affordable Connectivity Program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, saving each household at least $30 per month and supporting one of the strongest and fastest economic recoveries in history.
“The pandemic upended life as we knew it and exposed the stark inequity in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country, including rural, Tribal, and other underrepresented communities,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “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 and compete in the 21st century economy.”
“This major commitment reflects President Biden’s strong belief that universal, affordable high-speed internet in every school, home, small business and community — urban or rural — must today be considered an absolute necessity for educational and economic opportunity,” said White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling.
“Access to high-speed internet is a necessity, not a luxury,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar. “I’m proud of the funding we’ve secured in Congress to ensure all families in California can access reliable internet. I want to thank President Biden for highlighting this critical investment in the Inland Empire. It’s going to help students reach their full potential, businesses better serve our communities and help people connect with one another.”
“At a time when we are increasingly dependent on internet-based tools and services, it is critical that we close our digital divide by ensuring every Californian, in every corner of our state has access to affordable, high-speed internet service,” said Governor Newsom. “Today’s significant investment by the Biden Administration supports our overall, multi-year $6.5 billion investment to expand broadband coverage throughout the state. This funding will help grow our economy, bolster education, and overall strengthen the health and wellbeing of Californians.”
“As the COVID pandemic made clear, internet access is essential for our communities to thrive,” said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. “This historic investment will continue to build on the Biden Administration and Senate Democrats’ efforts to connect California families not only to reliable broadband, but to the opportunities and resources that come with it.”
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 with President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to close the digital divide – deploying high-speed internet to those without access and lowering costs for those who cannot afford it.
California is approved to receive $540.2 million for high-speed internet infrastructure. California’s Last Mile Broadband Expansion grant program is a new competitive grant program designed to provide internet access to areas of the state currently lacking access to reliable broadband at speeds of 25/3 Mbps. The plan approved by the Treasury Department today represents 100% of the state’s total allocation under the Capital Project Funds program.
In accordance with the Treasury Department’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, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, helps ensure that households can afford high-speed internet 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 last year that 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, reliable internet plans for no more than $30 per month. As a result of this agreement and the ACP, eligible households can receive internet access at no cost and can check their eligibility and sign up at GetInternet.gov.
The Treasury Department began announcing state awards in June of last year. To date, 39 states have been approved to invest approximately $5.9 billion of Capital Project Funds in affordable, reliable high-speed internet, which those states estimate will reach more than 1.75 million locations. The Treasury Department will continue approving state and Tribal plans on a rolling basis.