WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that Wisconsin received its first “Internet for All” grants for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative. Wisconsin is receiving $5,952,197.63 in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden, to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the state.
"Digital equity is crucial to ensure that everyone in Wisconsin has access to healthcare, education, and remote work opportunities," said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. "I thank Governor Evers for his efforts to connect unserved and underserved areas as part of the Internet for All initiative."
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce April McClain-Delaney announced the award today alongside Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers at an event hosted by Digital Bridge, a Milwaukee nonprofit that recycles electronics, promotes digital literacy, and offers low-cost devices to those in need.
“The investments I’m proud to announce today represent the start of a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Wisconsin and will help us achieve our mission to expand broadband statewide,” said Gov. Evers. “Since becoming governor, we’ve made historic progress to connect more than 387,000 homes and businesses to reliable, high-speed internet. These new investments will help bolster our ongoing work and give local communities the support needed to build critical broadband infrastructure and ensure high-speed internet access for all.”
“I voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act because it is helping Wisconsin build a stronger economy and future for Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin. “Affordable and reliable high-speed Internet is essential to Wisconsin families, students, small businesses, and farmers. This investment from the Biden Administration will help lay the groundwork to close the digital divide and get more Wisconsinites dependable broadband.”
"High-speed Internet isn't a luxury, it's essential for work, school, and more. But this need remains real for my constituents,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (WI-04). “That's why I am proud to have supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which made these investments possible."
“Many Wisconsinites have been left behind when it comes to broadband access,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02). “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the BEAD Program, we’re closing the gap for rural and underserved communities, and expanding access to reliable high-speed Internet for everyone. I thank the NTIA for awarding these vital grants to Wisconsin.”
“The PSC is thrilled to spearhead the ‘Internet for All’ programs to close Wisconsin’s digital divide,” said Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “These projects continue the governor’s proven track record of improving broadband access by connecting unserved and underserved areas in our state. We look forward to working with state, local, and Tribal leaders, stakeholders, and Wisconsin residents to identify strategic use of these investments.”
All 50 U.S. states and six territories applied for planning grant funding for the Internet for All initiative's Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act program. Grant awards for all 56 eligible entities will be announced on a rolling basis.
About Wisconsin’s Planning Grants
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program
The BEAD Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.
Wisconsin will receive $5 million to fund various activities including:
- Identification of unserved and underserved locations;
- Development of a 5-year action plan;
- Capacity building of the state broadband office;
- Asset mapping across Wisconsin to catalog high-speed Internet service adoption, affordability, equity, access, and deployment;
- Survey of unserved, underserved, and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to Internet adoption;
- Analysis of broadband needs in each region of the state.
The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The first part of NTIA’s execution of the Digital Equity Act is to fund digital equity planning efforts.
Wisconsin will receive $952,197.63 to fund various activities including:
- Development of a statewide digital equity plan;
- Subawards for stakeholder engagement and outreach;
- Recruitment of staff and capacity-building.
Internet for All
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.
Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to learn more.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.