The U.S. Treasury Department today approved broadband projects in Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin, awarding them a total of $435 million. The funds come from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund.
The $10 billion program, which was created by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), 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).
Treasury announced Capital Projects awards in June, July, and August and will continue approving state and Tribal plans on a rolling basis. Most recently, five states were awarded a total of $408 million under the program at the end of August.
Under the Treasury’s rules, service providers receiving Capital Projects funding must participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a discount of up to $30 per month (or up to $75 per month per eligible household on Tribal lands).
More specifically, this is what the state plans that the Treasury approved include:
- Massachusetts: $145 million for broadband infrastructure, expected to connect 16,000 households and businesses – representing 27% of locations still lacking high-speed internet access. The state’s award will fund the Gap Networks Grant Program, a competitive grant program designed to address gaps in broadband infrastructure where reliable broadband service is currently unavailable.
- Michigan: $250.6 million for broadband infrastructure, which is designed to connect 67,857
households and businesses – representing nearly one quarter (23%) of locations still lacking high-speed internet access. The Michigan Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) program will be the award’s beneficiary. The competitive grant program is designed to provide funding to extend broadband infrastructure and service to locations currently lacking access to at least 100/20 Mbps.
- Wisconsin: $40 billion for broadband infrastructure, which the state expects to connect 8,000 households and businesses. The award will be used to fund the Wisconsin Broadband Infrastructure Projects program, which invests in broadband infrastructure projects designed to provide consistent, reliable service to households that currently lack consistent speeds of 100/20 Mbps.
“The pandemic upended life as we knew it—from work to school to connecting with friends and family—and exposed the stark inequity in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country, but especially in rural, Tribal, and low-income communities,” said Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo, in a prepared statement.