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Joe Biden to announce $40B to boost high-speed Internet across U.S.

President Joe Biden will announce Monday the allocation of $40 billion in federal funds to distributed to states in an effort to expand high-speed Internet to every nook of the country by 2030.

The announcement will kick off a three-week “investing in America” push by the administration, in which officials will make numerous public appearances to tout the ongoing impact of Biden’s legislative agenda, including massive infrastructure projects across the nation.

About 8.5 million homes and businesses nationwide do not have Internet access, the White House said.

The newest funding will go to states with the most need as part of the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program — a major provision of Biden’s $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, in which each state could receive $100 million or more from the government to boost connectivity.

The White House said it plans to release the dollar amounts that each qualifying state could receive.

To get the funds, states will need to submit blueprints to the Commerce Department by December, explaining how the money will be spent.

State and local governments would next submit their plans to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which would begin distributing the funds next spring.

States won’t get all the money right away, with the government allocating only 20% of the infrastructure funds during this first round of payouts as part of an 18-month rollout that will continue through the end of 2025.

The administration said it will allocate the funds using updated broadband coverage maps as more than 1 million new coverage locations have come online nationwide in the past year.

Administration officials sought to compare Biden’s efforts to the sweeping actions of the 32nd U.S. president during the Depression era.

“Just like Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered electricity to every home in America through his Rural Electrification Act, the announcement is part of President Biden’s broader effort to deliver investments, jobs, and opportunities directly to working and middle-class families across the country,” the White House said in a Monday statement.

Earlier this month, the government announced $930 million in new infrastructure projects that aim to “close the digital divide for everyone in America” by expanding middle mile high-speed Internet infrastructure across 35 states and Puerto Rico.

The White House also launched a program to help more people, including families in the poorest sectors of the country, afford Internet access.

The Online For All campaign will feature grass-roots organizations and corporate entities working with the Department of Education to help families pay monthly Internet service costs as “research indicates that approximately half of the remaining qualified Americans are not aware of the program,” the White House said previously.

In February, Vice President Kamala Harris called high-speed Internet a “basic necessity” in announcing a $175 million fund in helping secure Internet access at the nation’s 61 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Altogether, the Biden administration expects to spend more than $90 billion to expand affordable Internet access, with another $25 billion provided through the American Rescue Plan to boost connectivity in many economically challenged regions.

Source: www.upi.com