Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Overview
On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. This Act includes a significant investment of $65 billion to help close the digital divide and ensure that all Americans have access to reliable, high speed, and affordable broadband. This investment builds upon the funding for broadband deployment provided in the American Rescue Plan, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, the FCC’s Universal Service program, and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service broadband programs. This historic investment will lay critical groundwork for widespread access and affordability of broadband, creating new jobs and economic opportunities, providing increased access to healthcare services, enriching educational experiences of students, and improving overall quality of life for all Americans.
NTIA will implement the following programs:
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program: Appropriates $42.45 billion for states, territories, the District of Columbia (D.C.), and Puerto Rico (P.R.) to utilize for broadband deployment, mapping, and adoption projects. Each state, D.C., and P.R. will receive an initial allocation of $100 million -- and $100 million will be divided equally among the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands -- to support planning efforts including building capacity in state broadband offices and outreach and coordination with local communities. States, territories, D.C., and P.R., leveraging initial planning funds that will be made available through the program, will submit a 5-year action plan, which shall be informed by collaboration with local and regional entities. The remaining funding will be distributed based on a formula that considers the number of unserved and high-cost locations in the state, based on the maps to be published by the FCC in 2022. The first priority for funding is for providing broadband to unserved areas (those below 25/3 Mbps), followed by underserved areas (those below 100/20 Mbps), and then serving community anchor institutions (1/1 Gbps).
Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program: Establishes and funds a $1 billion program for the construction, improvement or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure. The purpose of the grant program is to expand and extend middle mile infrastructure to reduce the cost of connecting unserved and underserved areas to the internet backbone. Eligible applicants include States, political subdivisions of a State, tribal governments, technology companies, electric utilities, utility cooperatives, public utility districts, telecommunications companies, telecommunications cooperatives, nonprofit foundations, nonprofit corporations, nonprofit institutions, nonprofit associations, regional planning councils, Native entities, or economic development authorities.
Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program: Provides an additional $2 billion to TBCP, a NTIA program previously implemented under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The TBCP directs funding to tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.
Digital Equity Act Programs: Dedicates $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs that promote digital inclusion and equity to ensure that all individuals and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The goal of these programs is to promote the meaningful adoption and use of broadband services across the targeted populations in the Act, including low-income households, aging populations, incarcerated individuals, veterans, individuals with disabilities, individuals with a language barrier, racial and ethnic minorities, and rural inhabitants.
- State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program: $60 million formula grant program for states and territories to develop digital equity plans.
- State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program: $1.44 billion formula grant program for states and territories distributed via annual grant programs over 5 years to implement digital equity projects and support the implementation of digital equity plans.
- Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program: $1.25 billion discretionary grant program distributed vial annual grant programs over 5 years to implement digital equity projects. Eligible applicants include specific types of political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of a state; tribal governments; nonprofit entities; community anchor institutions; local educational agencies; and entities that carry out workforce development programs.
We will be updating the OICG grant programs webpage as additional information becomes available on program guidance and webinars. You can also sign up on our BroadbandUSA listserv to stay up to date on our latest events and updates.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 directed NTIA to implement three new grant programs:
Call for Merit Reviewers
NTIA is soliciting experts to evaluate grant proposals for the three broadband connectivity programs that will award over $1.5 billion to further national broadband goals and assist with COVID response and recovery efforts.
NTIA will conduct a merit review of applications submitted to these programs. The merit review will involve teams of technical experts that evaluate applications against established review criteria specific to each program.
For more information, please see Call for Reviewers – NTIA Broadband Connectivity Programs.
NTIA periodically provides the latest news across its grant programs including Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs), new sets of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), upcoming grant program webinars, and more. Please sign up to receive these and additional BroadbandUSA updates via email.
- June 25, 2021 BroadbandUSA Grants Roundup
- July 19, 2021 BroadbandUSA Grants Roundup
- July 29, 2021 BroadbandUSA Grants Roundup
- August 26, 2021 BroadbandUSA Grants Roundup
- August 31, 2021 BroadbandUSA Grants Roundup