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Feds allocate $868M to bring high-speed internet to underserved parts of Indiana

WASHINGTON (WISH) — Indiana has been allocated more than $868 million to bring reliable high-speed internet to parts of the state where it’s lacking or not available, President Joe Biden and other federal leaders announced Monday.

A 2019 study by Purdue University found some of the most rural areas of Indiana lacked high-speed internet. That’s about 261,300 Hoosiers, or nearly 4% of the state’s population. However, studies about the availability of internet accessibility have varied widely, Purdue notes.

“For example, the Federal Communications Commission found that about 261,000 residents lacked access to the minimum standard of internet speed: 25 megabits per second download and 3 megabits per second upload. However, Microsoft found that 4.1 million residents did not use the internet at a minimum of 25 Mbps — a significant portion of Indiana’s population of more than 6.7 million,” Purdue said in a 2021 news release.

The money was set aside in a law approved in 2021. Indiana’s allocation is $868,109,929.79. The total allocated for the project nationally is $42.45 billion.

Funds are expected to be awarded to network operators based on a point system. Operators are expected to cover at least 25% of project costs unless they obtain a waiver. Eligible fund recipients can start submitting initial requests for funds July 1. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will approve initial requests, which will then be distributed by states. It’s not immediately clear how Indiana will distribute the funds.

News releases

“Biden-Harris Administration Announces $868 Million to Indiana to Deploy High-Speed Internet Infrastructure 

“WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced that Indiana will receive $868,109,929.79 to deploy affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service. Right now, 202,021 homes and small businesses in Indiana lack access to a high-speed Internet connection.  

“As part of the ‘Internet for All’ initiative, a key component of President Biden’s ‘Investing in America’ agenda, the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced how much funding from the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories will receive.

‘President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is delivering on our commitment to bring Internet to all of Indiana, while creating thousands of good jobs and revitalizing our domestic manufacturing industry as we build out the country’s network infrastructure. For Hoosiers to unlock their full economic potential in today’s world, access to reliable and affordable Internet is critical. Governor Holcomb knows this, and we’re excited to work with him to fully connect Indiana,’ said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. 

“States, D.C., and territories (“Eligible Entities”) will use funding from the BEAD program from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to administer grant programs within their borders.  

“The BEAD funding will be used to deploy or upgrade broadband networks to ensure that everyone has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet service. Once deployment goals are met, any remaining funding can be used on broadband adoption, training, and workforce development efforts, among other eligible uses. 

“Details related to the allocation for the states, D.C., and territories are available on InternetForAll.Gov.   

“Eligible Entities will receive their formal notice of allocation on June 30, 2023. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Eligible Entities have 180 days from the date of that formal notice to submit their Initial Proposals for how they will run their grant programs. Eligible Entities can begin submitting their Initial Proposals starting July 1, 2023. Once NTIA approves an Initial Proposal, which will occur on a rolling basis, Eligible Entities will be able to access at least 20 percent of their allocated funds.”

Office of Public Affairs for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration 

“Today, the White House announced that Indiana will receive more than $868 million as part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program to bring high speed internet to more Americans. This is great news for the state and will make critical internet connections available for more families to help close the digital divide.

One-fifth of U.S. households are not online, and affordability is another major factor. Through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), qualified Americans can save up to $30 per month on internet services. When combined with programs like Access from AT&T, families can use the ACP benefit to get free home internet. However, only 1 in 4 eligible households has enrolled in the ACP since it launched in 2021.

“Please see this Tweet from Bill Soards, President, AT&T Indiana:

“The new broadband funding allocation, along with the Affordable Connectivity Program, offer a huge opportunity for Indiana to close the local digital divide.”

Phil Hayes of AT&T Corporate Communications