On Monday, the distribution of $42 billion across all 50 states and U.S. territories was carried out by the White House to achieve universal access to high-speed broadband by 2030. This funding aligns with a campaign promoting President Joe Biden’s economic policies.
The funding comes from the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program, authorized by President Biden’s $1 trillion 2021 Infrastructure Act. Funding allocations are based on a recently released Federal Communications Commission coverage map that identifies accessibility gaps.
Texas and California, the two most populous states, receive the highest allocations of $3.1 billion and $1.9 billion respectively. Notably, even states with smaller populations like Virginia, and Alabama. And Louisiana secured spots among the top 10 recipients. This reflects the inadequate penetration of broadband infrastructure in these areas due to larger rural regions with limited Internet access.
“This is the largest investment ever in high-speed Internet,” stated President Biden during his speech at the White House on Monday, emphasizing the importance of Internet connectivity in today’s economy.
Funding awards range from $27 million for U.S. territories such as the U.S. Virgin Islands to over $3.3 billion for Texas, with each state receiving a minimum of $107 million.
This announcement marks the start of the second phase of President Biden’s outreach to average Americans. Showcasing the successful enactment of legislation during his Democratic party’s control of Congress as he prepares for the 2024 re-election bid.
On Wednesday, President Biden will deliver a key economic speech in Chicago. Presenting his “Abenomics” approach, as outlined in a memo from advisors Anita Dunn. And Mike Donilon to congressional Democrats and state allies.
The upcoming 2024 election views Biden’s budget as a referendum, with job creation and low unemployment considered positive aspects amid concerns about high inflation and a potential recession resulting from increased interest rates.
According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 54% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance. With only 35% approving his handling of the economy. Additionally, Democrats lost control of the House Parliament in the 2022 midterm elections.
The government estimates that approximately 8.5 million locations in the U.S. lack broadband connection, underscoring the urgency of the funding allocation.
Major broadband companies, including Verizon, Comcast, Charter Communications, and AT&T, have shown reluctance to expand services to minority and rural communities due to high investment costs and limited market demand. The lack of broadband infrastructure posed challenges during the COVID-19 lockdown, impacting students attending school online.
States are expected to introduce initial plans later this year, unlocking 20% of the funding. The program’s completion will trigger the release of the remaining funds, potentially extending until 2025.