To date, the Capital Projects Fund has awarded over $7 billion for broadband, digital technology, and multi-purpose community center projects in 45 states, which those states estimate will reach nearly two million locations.
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the approval of $195.7 million for high-speed internet projects in Washington state under the Capital Projects Fund (CPF) in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which the state estimates will connect about 33,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet as a part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. Already, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has delivered over $7 billion for broadband, digital technology, and multi-purpose community center projects in 45 states, which those states estimate will reach nearly two million locations.
“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. 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. 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 this goal. 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.
Washington state is approved to receive $195.7 million for broadband infrastructure projects, which the state estimates will connect approximately 33,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet. Washington will implement three competitive broadband infrastructure programs that aim to provide reliable internet access to households across the state. Washington’s State Broadband Office (SBO) broadband grant program will prioritize the investment of $118.5 million to provide reliable internet in communities without internet service and then to those with internet speeds below 25/3 Mbps. The state will also invest $43.7 million of their CPF award to the Public Works Board (PWB) Broadband Program – a program designed to provide high-speed internet in distressed rural counties, or areas identified as Indian country. Washington will additionally invest $23.8 million towards the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) Rural Broadband Program to expand last-mile broadband access in rural areas of the state without reliable internet. 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 2022. The Department will continue approving state and Tribal plans on a rolling basis.