WASHINGTON, Nov 10 – The Biden administration said U.S. is planning a broadband infrastructure funding plan by June 30 and how it intends to allocate more than $42 billion in grants to states and territories.
The distribution formula from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is dependent on providing accurate maps of locations in the US without high-speed broadband Internet access. Separately, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it would unveil a pre-production draft of new broadband maps on Thursday to improve provider data by incorporating challenges.
Individuals or others may look up their addresses and raise issues if they do not believe they accurately reflect available broadband Internet services. State or tribal governments can make big calls.
Authors of the infrastructure bill said last year that 19 million Americans do not have access to high-speed Internet.
NTIA says challengers have the “best opportunity” to file challenges by Jan. 13 “in time for the FCC to include the corrections in the final version of the map that will be used to allocate Internet for All funding in the summer of 2023.”
The November 2021 $1 trillion infrastructure bill includes a total of $65 billion to boost internet access. There is a separate $10 billion COVID-19 relief program administered by the U.S. Treasury Department that also aims to boost broadband Internet access in underserved communities.
The infrastructure bill also includes $14.2 billion in FCC vouchers for low-income families that can be used toward Internet service plans. More than 14 million households participate.
In November 2021, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the goal is for “every American” to have access to high-speed affordable broadband, “which means truly affordable.”
She said states must “show us a plan that will guarantee every person in your state access to high-speed, affordable Internet.” NTIA will release the money, she said, after states submit plans that are approved by the department.