More than 200,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia and West Virginia will gain broadband connectivity with the help of funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s new Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF). The funding will go to each of the states, with each state responsible for awards in the state.
These are the first awards in the CPF program.
The $10 billion program, which was created by the American Rescue Plan, provides funding to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to help recover from the pandemic. The funding can be used for broadband or certain other types of projects. In addition, governments can supplement CPF funding with State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF).
Network operators receiving funding from this round must deploy service at speeds of 100 Mbps symmetrically and must participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides $30 per month towards broadband subscriptions for eligible households. The allowance is $75 on Tribal lands.
The initial awards:
- Louisiana was approved for $176.7 million (representing 100% of its available CPF funding). Funding will be provided to connect nearly 88,500 homes and businesses currently lacking access to the internet at speeds of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. The funding will be done through the new Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) program, a multi-phase, broadband infrastructure competitive grant program.
- New Hampshire was approved for an initial award of $50 million (representing 41% of its available CPF funding). Estimates are that it will serve 15,000 homes and businesses in rural and remote areas, which represents approximately 50% of locations in the state that lack access to high-speed Internet.
- Virginia was approved for $219.8 million (representing 100% of its available CPF funding). The state will expand last-mile broadband access to an estimated 76,873 locations, approximately 28% of locations the state estimates lack access to high-quality broadband service. Through a competitive grant-making program overseen by the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative, local governments in partnership with internet service providers apply for funds with the goal of deploying universal coverage solutions in the localities involved.
- West Virginia was approved for $136.3 million (representing 100% of its available CPF funding). Estimates are that projects receiving funding from this CPF award will serve 20,000 locations or approximately 10% of locations in the state that lack access to high-speed internet. The state will use three separate grant programs that focus on funding for last-mile connections to homes and businesses currently without access to the internet at speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.
“The pandemic turned so many aspects of life online from work to school and laid bare the urgency of closing the digital divide for all Americans – especially those living in rural, Tribal, and low-income communities,” said Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo, in a press release.
The CPF program joins many other federal broadband support programs, that by one estimate now number over 100 different programs.