The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced 13 lucky winners secured grants from its massively oversubscribed Broadband Infrastructure Program, with Missouri’s Department of Economic Development walking away with the biggest pile of cash.
NTIA handed out a total of $277.2 million for projects which will connect more than 133,000 households across 12 states and Guam. Most of these will focus on providing last mile connectivity, though two will also include middle mile work.
The largest award went to Missouri’s Department of Economic Development, which won a $42.2 million grant to deploy fiber across 12 counties in the state. It plans to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbps to nearly 13,100 households. The State of Mississippi bagged the second biggest grant, scoring $32.7 million to rollout middle mile and last mile broadband to connect 12,487 households across 10 counties. Washington State’s Department of Commerce was on its heels with a $30 million grant to deliver broadband access to 7,196 unserved households across five counties.
Grants were also awarded for projects in Georgia, Guam, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.
Newly appointed NTIA chief Alan Davidson hailed the grants in a statement as “a great first step in our march toward connecting every American to affordable, high-speed broadband service.”
The awards amounted to just a fraction of the $2.5 billion in funding requests the NTIA received for projects in 49 states when it opened applications for the Broadband Infrastructure Program last year. However, NTIA noted in its announcement it is preparing to launch a series of new broadband programs which are being funded by a $65 billion allocation from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
BIP was established in May 2021 using money allocated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which became law in December 2020. NTIA said in a Notice of Funding Opportunity that it planned to award up to $288 million in BIP grants. It was not immediately clear what would happen to the remaining $10.2 million that was not awarded.