What next for Biden’s billion-dollar broadband expansion?


The Biden administration on Monday released details on the $42.5 billion cornerstone of its Internet for All initiative. The money, which state governments will eventually award to broadband providers, has the potential to be transformative in communities with inadequate services or exorbitant costs.

Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program funding amounts depended primarily on the number of unserved locations in each jurisdiction. Unserved locations are those that do not have access to Internet download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and download speeds of 3 Mbps.

Download speeds involve fetching information from the internet, including streaming movies and TV. Upload speeds determine how quickly information travels from a computer to the Internet, such as sending email or posting photos online.

The federal government used the FCC’s National Broadband Map to identify the number of unserved locations in each jurisdiction.

Before states can tap into those funds, they must engage in a multi-stage approval process with the federal government to ensure the money is distributed to communities that need it most.



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The AP produced a dataset showing each state’s dollar allotment and the percentage of broadband locations and businesses with high-speed Internet potential that are estimated to be underserved, according to the latest version of the FCC National Broadband Map.



The FCC National Broadband Map is an up-to-date dataset showing advertised Internet speeds at the address level. Version 2 is the latest public iteration and was used to determine the BEAD assignments of states.

The default map view shows residential service provided by all types of technology with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. The federal government defines reliable service as that provided via fixed wired or wireless technologies. To view coverage provided only by technologies you trust, click the gear icon on the right side of the page. Under Technologies, select All Wired and Licensed Fixed Wireless. In this menu you can also choose to view coverage of businesses instead of residences and set different speed minimums.

Check out the FCC broadband funding map. This offers details on funding for some other federal broadband expansion programs.

To see a breakdown of projects and funding in a particular area, click the Funding Summary button (to drill down, make sure you’ve zoomed in to at least level 10, then click individual hexagons for details ). To view the percentage of areas that are unserviced or unfunded, click the Location Summary button. To view the maps by funding type, click on the different links under the Broadband Funding Summaries heading in the pop-up window.



The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is administering the BEAD program. It’s keeping track of which states have released initial proposals, which must be approved before states can begin the grant-making process. Initial proposals must be submitted by the end of the year and can be presented in two volumes. Also on this page are links to five-year plans, which outline how states hope to achieve universal connectivity, and digital equity plans, which cover how states aim to equip people with the skills and devices they need to take advantage of access. to the internet. You can sign up to receive email updates when new offers and plans are released.

States with initial proposals released:

Louisiana (volume 1)

Virginia (volume 1)

States with five-year plans released:






Draft Digital Equity Plans:





Nonprofit organizations, Internet service providers, and local and tribal governments will eventually have the opportunity to evaluate their states’ determinations about which localities are eligible for funding and challenge those decisions. The NTIA has released draft guidance on how these challenge processes will be performed, and final guidance is expected soon.



What is your state allocation from BEAD? How have state and local officials reacted to this amount? Do they believe it will be enough to connect people who don’t yet have reliable internet access?

Which counties in your state are the most digitally challenged? Are there demographic or socioeconomic similarities between these areas? Are they geographically consolidated or spread across the state? Are there counties with poor connectivity bordering counties that have good Internet access?

Are there any topographic or climatic challenges, such as mountains and year-round cold, to lay fiber in your state? How do state officials plan to overcome these challenges? Are there remote counties or cities?

What is the broadband aid landscape in your state? Broadband expansion projects are underway from other federal programs, including the USDA’s ReConnect program and the American Rescue Plan. Additionally, states run their own grant programs aimed at bridging the digital divide. How are these projects going? How did the completed projects affect the lives of people in that area? How do these existing projects work with your state’s plans to use BEAD funding?



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Locate It is an occasional feature produced by The Associated Press for use by its clients. Questions can be directed to Katie Oyan at koyan@ap.org.

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