The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced that Nebraska received its first grants under the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act programs.
The state is receiving $5.59 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plan for the deployment and adoption of broadband internet and digital equity throughout Nebraska.
All states and territories who will participate in the BEAD program are eligible to receive initial funds for state broadband planning purposes
The nearly $5 million in Nebraska BEAD funds will be used to:
- Identify of unserved and underserved locations;
- Improve capacity of the state’s broadband office;
- Create a framework through which grants are distributed to subgrantees based on the structure in place for the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program (NBBP) grant program;
- Improve understanding of the specific areas of need for broadband Internet service;
- Reach out to communities throughout Nebraska.
The BEAD program has $42.5 billion in funds, which will be distributed through states and territories.
With the $598,745.97 in Digital Equity Act money the state will receive, Nebraska plans to fund:
- Developing Nebraska’s Digital Equity Plan;
- Community outreach and engagement through public comments, regional or tribal digital equity planning committees, site visits and regional listening sessions;
- Surveying for digital equity assets to understand barriers to high-speed Internet adoption;
- Subawards to Nebraska’s eight economic development districts to develop seven regional digital equity plans.
Earlier this week, Idaho received $4.9 million for broadband expansion planning under the BEAD and Digital Equity Act programs.
“Affordable and reliable high-speed Internet is coming to Nebraska. These new funds lay the foundation to increase the accessibility of Internet service for all Nebraskans, particularly those in rural communities,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, in a prepared statement. “I appreciate the work of Governor Ricketts and his team to ensure all Nebraskans are connected to the digital economy, telehealth and education.”