Whenever I see a nice recap of the federal funding available for broadband, I am reminded of how much I needed it. SO I thought I’d share this reminder from GNC…
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to a high-quality broadband connection. Policymakers have a historic opportunity to help close the digital divide, but they will need better data to achieve this goal.
At a recent White House convening, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo made clear that state funding from the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program would be contingent on each state’s plans to fully address community needs and identify priority areas for broadband investments. To maximize the impact of the new law, which also includes a Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program, state and local leaders will need to quickly gather the best available data, including accurate maps of where service is currently available.
The good news is the federal government has provided the guidance and resources in both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act to help communities pull together the needed data. Specifically, the $350 billion included in ARPA’s state and local fiscal recovery funds plan can be used to build governments’ data infrastructure and capacity. State and local leaders must embrace the chance to use these one-time resources to invest in collecting and analyzing data.