Combined with other Administration initiatives, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has brought affordable internet to over 17 million American households
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the approval of $151.5 million for high-speed internet projects in Mississippi under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF), part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. 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.”
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.
Mississippi is approved to receive $151.5 million for broadband infrastructure projects, which the state estimates will connect approximately 47,300 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet. Mississippi’s funding will go to the Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) fund, a new competitive grant program designed to fund three types of broadband investments: large scale projects, line extensions, and community based broadband projects. The BEAM fund will prioritize last-mile fiber applicants for the large scale and line extension projects, and will prioritize high-speed, reliable internet to downtown commercial areas for community based broadband projects. The plan approved by the Treasury Department today represents 93% of the state’s total allocation under the Capital Project Funds program. Mississippi submitted plans for the remainder of their CPF funds and these plans are currently under review by the Treasury Department.
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, CPF has awarded approximately $6.7 billion for broadband, digital technology, and multi-purpose community center projects in 42 states, which those states estimate will reach more than 1.88 million locations. The Department will continue approving state and Tribal plans on a rolling basis.