The Treasury Department last week announced the approval of over $740 million for high-speed internet projects in California and Pennsylvania under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF).
The Treasury Department began announcing state awards in June of last year. To date, 39 states have been approved to invest nearly $6 billion of CPF in affordable, reliable high-speed internet, which those states estimate will reach more than 1.75 million locations.
California Receives $540M for Broadband
In California, the Treasury Department announced the approval of $540.2 million for high-speed internet projects under the CPF – the largest single infusion of broadband funding to a state under CPF.
California will use its funding to connect approximately 127,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.
To recognize this milestone, White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling and Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., held an event on April 13 in California’s Orchid Drive neighborhood of San Bernardino, composed of single and multi-family homes that have benefited from last-mile broadband investments.
“This major commitment reflects President Biden’s strong belief that universal, affordable high-speed internet in every school, home, small business, and community – urban or rural – must today be considered an absolute necessity for educational and economic opportunity,” said Sperling.
More than $540 million was allocated to California’s Last Mile Broadband Expansion grant program for high-speed internet infrastructure. The program is a new competitive grant program designed to provide internet access to areas of the state currently lacking access to reliable broadband.
The plan approved by the Treasury Department last week represents 100 percent of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program.
“Access to high-speed internet is a necessity, not a luxury,” said Rep. Aguilar. “I’m proud of the funding we’ve secured in Congress to ensure all families in California can access reliable internet. I want to thank President Biden for highlighting this critical investment in the Inland Empire. It’s going to help students reach their full potential, businesses better serve our communities, and help people connect with one another.”
“At a time when we are increasingly dependent on internet-based tools and services, it is critical that we close our digital divide by ensuring every Californian, in every corner of our state has access to affordable, high-speed internet service,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Today’s significant investment by the Biden Administration supports our overall, multi-year $6.5 billion investment to expand broadband coverage throughout the state. This funding will help grow our economy, bolster education, and overall strengthen the health and wellbeing of Californians.”
Pennsylvania Receives $200M for Broadband
Pennsylvania was also awarded a chunk of the CPF money last week. The Treasury Department announced the approval of $200 million for high-speed internet projects to connect approximately 44,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.
Treasury’s Chief Recovery Officer Jacob Leibenluft joined Sperling and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., on April 10 in Gettysburg to announce the new broadband initiative.
“Too often, families, particularly those in our rural communities, are left at a disadvantage when it comes to high-speed internet access. This $200 million award from the American Rescue Plan will help level the playing field,” said Sen. Casey. “I will continue working to expand high-speed internet in Pennsylvania to ensure families stay connected and small businesses stay competitive in an increasingly digital world.”
Pennsylvania is approved to receive $200 million for high-speed internet infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect roughly 44,000 households and businesses to high-speed internet.
Pennsylvania’s Broadband Infrastructure Program is a competitive grant program designed to fund two types of projects: large-scale regional projects and line extensions. Eligible large-scale regional projects will provide reliable broadband to broad areas of the commonwealth, while eligible line extension projects will extend existing last-mile networks to areas that lack adequate internet service.
The CPF provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency.
A key priority of the CPF program is making funding available for reliable broadband infrastructure, advancing President Joe Biden’s goal of affordable, high-speed internet for everyone in America.
The press release notes that Biden’s Investing in America agenda has delivered affordable high-speed internet to 17 million American households through the CPF and the Affordable Connectivity Program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, saving each household at least $30 per month and “supporting one of the strongest and fastest economic recoveries in history.”