Infrastructure planning grants are part of the 2021 infrastructure bill
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has announced dozens of planning grants to states in recent weeks, which will be used to support five-year plans for broadband deployments nationwide that are intended to ultimately make internet services available to every American.
In the latest round of planning awards, announced yesterday, NTIA granted more than $50 million in funding, including:
-$5.7 million to Connecticut
-$5.9 million to Wisconsin
-$5.6 million to Montana
-$6 million to Tennessee
-$6.1 million to Arizona
-$5.9 million to Maryland
-$5.8 million to Minnesota
-$6 million to Alabama
-$7.2 million to New York
All 56 U.S. states and territories have applied to be part of the “Internet for All” program, according to an update from November. The planning grants are the first funding to be dispersed, in order to help the states and territories develop a five-year plan on how they will award the broadband funding that they will receive from the federal government.
By June 30 of 2023, the federal government will determine the budget allocations for each state and territory to support broadband service deployments. States then will distribute that funding according to their five-year plans.
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal that was passed by Congress in November 2021 puts $65 billion into broadband expansion, affordability and middle-mile infrastructure, alongside other investments in transportation infrastructure, electric vehicle infrastructure, public transit and environmental clean-up, as well as electrical grid modernization.”
While there is $65 billion specifically dedicated to broadband, other provisions of the bill may ultimately benefit the wireless industry as well, particularly the additional $5 billion in electrical grid resilience and smart grid improvements that will probably rely at least in part on private and commercial wireless technologies. In addition, the deal also provides $17 billion for port infrastructure and $25 billion for airport modernization to expedite commerce and reduce congestion and emissions; and also provides $50 billion to increase infrastructure resilience against natural disasters and cyber attacks.