- What Is the Internet for All Initiative?
- Internet for All Programs
- Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program
- Who Is Eligible for BEAD?
- Top 10 States Awarded the Most BEAD Funds
- Affordable Connectivity Program
- Capital Projects Fund
- ReConnect Loan and Grant Program
- Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP)
- Broadband Infrastructure Program
- Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program
- Eligibility Requirements
- Internet for All
What Is the Internet for All Initiative?
The Internet for All Initiative is a collection of federal programs that expand broadband internet in the United States. About one in five American households don’t have internet. The federal government wants to ensure that all Americans have access to high speed internet.
These days, broadband internet is a necessity, not a luxury. We need the internet to participate in modern life, so we can perform essential activities like access healthcare and educational resources, pay bills, search for jobs, and much more.
The federal government has committed $65 billion to support a variety of programs that help achieve the goal of Internet for All. This funding is geared primarily towards rural, unserved, and underserved areas that don’t have access to at least 100 Mbps download speeds and 20 Mbps upload speeds.
The Internet for All Initiative is not a singular program but rather a collection of programs managed by multiple federal agencies.
$48 billion of the funds are designated specifically for infrastructure deployment and skills training which creates opportunities for all Americans.
These programs are managed as a team effort by four federal agencies: the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Department of the Treasury.
The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program is the latest program to join the Internet for All Initiative. Announced on June 26, 2023, the program allocates $48 billion to all 50 states, Washington D.C., and U.S. territories to improve broadband infrastructure for all Americans, especially in rural and underserved places.
BEAD will work with states, territories, and local communities to build new internet lines where they’re needed most. Training is also available to help people learn how to use the internet. Wi-Fi may be added to eligible buildings and apartments.
In all, the BEAD program is about helping all Americans get online, no matter where they live. It’s a big step towards making the internet more affordable and available for everyone.
Who Is Eligible for BEAD?
The following American entities qualify for the BEAD program.
- U.S. States
- District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- American Samoa
- The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Top 10 States Awarded the Most BEAD Funds
Affordable Connectivity Program
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program that helps low-income households afford high-speed internet service. Recognizing that monthly internet bills, installation costs, and the price of computers can pose a substantial burden, the ACP provides financial assistance to families struggling to afford these necessities.
The ACP offers a service discount of up to $30 per month to eligible households, or $75 per month for those living on qualifying Tribal Lands. The program also includes a device discount, providing up to $100 toward the cost of a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer, though a small copayment between $10 and $50 may be required.
To qualify for the ACP program, you must meet certain criteria. Eligibility is based on household income or participation in government assistance programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, or WIC. Also, households already receiving a Lifeline benefit are eligible.
The ACP benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. Not all internet service providers offer device discounts.
The ACP is a main element of the Internet for All Initiative as it makes high speed internet more accessible and affordable for low-income households.
The Capital Projects Fund (CPF) was launched as part of the American Rescue Plan during the COVID pandemic. It provides $10 billion to states, territories, and Tribal governments.
The goal of the CPF is to finance critical capital projects that support online work, education and health monitoring, particularly in response to public health emergencies.
The CPF addresses infrastructure challenges in rural America, Tribal communities, and low-income areas. The goal is to ensure these communities have access to reliable high-speed internet and other essential modern infrastructure.
In many rural, tribal, and low-income communities, reliable high-speed internet is often lacking. The CPF aids these communities by funding projects that improve high-speed internet infrastructure, which enables online services vital for telehealth, education, and work.
While the application deadline has passed, funds are still being awarded.
The ReConnect Loan and Grant Program was launched to improve internet infrastructure in rural America. The program provides nearly $2 billion in loans and grants to facilitate the deployment of high-speed internet service in these underserved regions.
The funding from the ReConnect Program supports the costs of broadband infrastructure projects, including the construction and improvement of facilities and equipment. By expanding access to reliable high-speed internet, the program fosters long-term economic development and creates opportunities in rural areas.
The program is open to a variety of entities, including corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships, cooperatives or mutual organizations, and state or local governments, U.S. territories, and Indian Tribes.
Through the ReConnect Program, all communities, regardless of their location, will have improved access to high-speed internet.
The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) is a $3 billion initiative backed by the Infrastructure Law and the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The TBCP assists Tribal governments in bringing high-speed internet access to Tribal lands.
The program emphasizes various areas, including the promotion of telehealth services, the advancement of distance learning, and lowering the overall costs of internet service.
The application process for the TBCP concluded on September 1, 2021. The first set of awards was announced on November 16, 2021, and further awards are given on an ongoing basis. This program symbolizes a significant investment in the connectivity and digital future of Tribal lands.
To date, over $1.7 billion has been granted to fund 183 projects on Tribal lands across the United States.
The Broadband Infrastructure Program provided funds of $288 million to expand internet access to regions lacking service, particularly focusing on rural areas that lack the necessary infrastructure. Projects often involved constructing the physical networks needed for high-speed internet and deploying services to connect households and businesses.
The application process for the Broadband Infrastructure Program concluded on August 17, 2021, with an overwhelming response of over 230 applications submitted. The first awards were announced on February 23, 2022, and grants will continue to be awarded over time.
The Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program provided $1 billion in funding to augment and expand the middle mile infrastructure.
Middle-mile infrastructure is critical for reliable high-speed internet. This mid-section of the internet infrastructure allows the transmission of large amounts of data at high speeds over long distances, serving as a connection between local networks and regional/national networks.
The program reduces the cost of connecting unserved and underserved communities while improving the resilience of the overall infrastructure. It focuses on strengthening connections to major networks, enabling reliable, high-speed internet even in remote areas.
The following entities are eligible for this program:
- Technology companies
- Telecommunications companies
- Native entities
- State governments
- Electric utilities
- Utility cooperatives
- Economic development authorities
- Public utility districts
- Regional planning councils
- Partnerships of two or more entities described above
- Political subdivisions of states
- Nonprofit foundations
- Nonprofit associations
- Nonprofit corporations
- Telecommunications cooperatives
- Tribal governments
- Nonprofit institutions
The program has created a more robust, affordable, and resilient internet infrastructure. This benefits all Americans, particularly those in areas lacking broadband.
Picture a world where everyone in America, no matter where they live, can easily connect to the internet. That’s the goal the U.S. government is working toward. The internet is more than just a tool for fun and games. It’s an essential part of our daily lives. There are so many ways the internet has become a necessity instead of a luxury.
The internet helps with learning and remote education. Virtually unlimited information is available online. This information also keeps us healthy when it comes to making informed decisions about diet and exercise.
Thanks to high speed internet, doctors can consult with patients, especially those who live far away. Patients can order their medicines online and have them delivered to their doorstep. This is really helpful for older folks who can’t always go to the store.
The internet also helps us to do our jobs. More and more people are working from home these days. This wouldn’t be possible without a good internet connection. It lets us work from anywhere and at any time. It helps to create new jobs and opportunities for people across the country.
Best of all, the internet helps to connect people. We can talk to our friends and family who live far away. We can share our thoughts, ideas, and experiences with people from all over the world. Building infrastructure for high-speed internet is an important investment in our future. The Internet for All Initiative makes our country stronger and more connected, allowing everyone to participate fully in modern life.