North Carolina is set to receive over $1.53 billion in federal funding to help with expanding high-speed internet across the state. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) made the announcement Monday.
More than $42.4 billion in funding from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program come as part of the $1 trillion spending plan signed by President Joe Biden in November of 2021. Nineteen Republicans voted in favor of the bill, including both of North Carolina’s Republican Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.
“This is a watershed moment for millions of people across America who lack access to a high-speed internet connection,” Alan Davidson, assistant secretary of commerce for communication and information. “Access to internet service is necessary for work, education, healthcare, and more. States can now plan their internet access grant programs with confidence and engage with communities to ensure this money is spent where it is most needed.”
North Carolina is among the top five states receiving the most money, with Texas receiving the most with $3.31 billion, followed by California at over $1.86 billion, Missouri at $1.73 billion, and Michigan with $1.55 billion.
“I’m proud to have worked on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will deliver more than $1.5 billion to expand access to high-speed internet across the state,” said U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, in a press release. “This is a game-changing investment that will help bridge the digital divide for North Carolina’s rural communities and deploy the resources that families need and deserve.”
The program requires recipients to submit a proposal on how they propose to run their grant program and spend the funds by the end of the year, but the NC Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) is ahead of the game with a proposed five-year plan.