WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) received $1,249,952.00 in a planning grant for deploying high-speed Internet service networks under the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program, which is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative. This award comes in addition to the $150,000 in Digital Equity planning grant funding for USVI that NTIA recently announced.
USVI has now received a total of nearly $1.4 million 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 territory.
“Everyone in the U.S. Virgin Islands deserves access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, this funding will develop infrastructure the archipelago needs to ensure every household has a reliable Internet connection and the tools required to thrive in today’s digital economy.”
“One of the cornerstones of the Bryan-Roach initiatives for growing the workforce and promoting a stronger USVI economy is high-speed internet access for all of our residents,” said Governor Albert Bryan Jr. “As we expand and enhance our broadband access throughout the Territory, we have put the USVI on an equal playing field with the global economy, to help our business community. The Territory’s growing high-speed internet network already has yielded more efficiency in the delivery of government operations and delivery of services, such as online vehicle registrations, online business licensing and online access to the Government of the Virgin Islands (GVI) transparency website, which tracks every penny into and out of the GVI. This BEAD grant will allow us to reach some of the more isolated areas of our islands and give as many Virgin Islanders as possible affordable broadband access and all the benefits that access brings.”
All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and all eligible territories have received planning grant funding for the Internet for All initiative's Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act program. NTIA has awarded more than $309 million in planning grants to states and territories.
About U.S. Virgin Islands’ 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.
USVI will receive $1,249,952.00 to fund various planning activities, including:
- Increasing capacity of a broadband office that oversees broadband programs and deployment;
- Supporting the development of a Five-Year Action plan to close the digital divide and ensure every Virgin Islander can participate in online educational offerings, access telehealth care, and thrive in the digital economy;
- Research and data collection to identify unserved and underserved locations as well as catalogue broadband adoption, affordability, equity, and access to better understand barriers to adoption;
- Providing technical assistance to potential subgrantees, including through workshops and events.
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.
USVI received $150,000 to fund various activities to support closing the digital equity gap including:
- The development of a Territory Digital Equity Plan that will benefit USVI and its principally unserved and underserved covered populations;
- Conducting data collection and analysis, digital inclusion asset mapping and stakeholder engagement;
- Staff recruitment and development.
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. In 2022, NTIA 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 Getinternet.gov to learn more.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.
About the National Telecommunications and Information Administration
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the Executive Branch agency that advises the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, advancing public safety communications, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.