Combined with other Administration initiatives, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has brought affordable internet to over 18 million American households
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the approval of $119.9 million in federal funds for broadband infrastructure projects in Montana and $68.3 million for multi-purpose community facility projects in North Dakota 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 expanding economic opportunities and providing internet connectivity in communities with unmet needs. Already, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has delivered affordable, high-speed internet to 18 million American households, through the CPF funded by the American Rescue Plan, and through the Affordable Connectivity Program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“Digital connectivity is central to expanding economic opportunity in communities across the country,” 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 in the 21st century economy.”
“As a third-generation farmer living in a rural area, I’m no stranger to the challenges Montanans face when their community lacks reliable, high-speed internet access,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester. “Since I came to the U.S. Senate, I’ve been working to increase high-speed internet connectivity across our state so that folks in rural Montana don’t fall through the cracks. That’s why I fought for this funding in the American Rescue Plan, and I’m proud to see these federal dollars finally going to projects that will serve every corner of the Treasure State.”
The CPF provides a total of $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring. In addition to the $10 billion provided by the CPF, many governments are putting 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.
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 2022. To date, CPF has awarded nearly $7 billion for broadband, digital technology, and multi-purpose community center projects in 42 states. States estimate that the broadband investments will reach more than 1.94 million locations, in addition to the thousands of individuals who will be served annually by connected multi-purpose community facilities. The Treasury Department will continue approving state and Tribal plans on a rolling basis.
The following descriptions summarize the Montana and North Dakota plans that Treasury approved today:
- Montana is approved to receive $119.9 million for broadband infrastructure through the ConnectMT program, which the state estimates will serve 61,100 locations. The ConnectMT program is a competitive broadband grant program designed to fund broadband infrastructure projects in areas that currently lack access to reliable internet. ConnectMT prioritizes last mile fiber-to-the-home projects that will provide residents with affordable, high-speed internet. The plan approved by the Treasury Department today represents 100% of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program.
- North Dakota is approved to receive $68.3 million for North Dakota’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Multi-Purpose Community Facility Grant Program, a competitive grant program that will provide funding to establish CTE centers. CTE centers will expand educational and career offerings to post-secondary school students and adult learners as well as provide expanded access to telehealth in areas of North Dakota where these services are limited. North Dakota estimates this program will use today’s award to fund at least 12 CTE centers, serving more than 20,000 individuals annually. In addition to the broadband infrastructure plan approved last month, North Dakota has now received 100% of its total CPF allocation.