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U.S. Treasury approves first state projects from $10 billion COVID broadband fund -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: This is an image of a splice box that holds 432 fiber cables. It was taken in Oldham County Kentucky (U.S.A.), April 19, 2021. REUTERS/Amira Karoud

David Lawder, David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters), – Tuesday’s announcement by the U.S. Treasury saw the first awards for states from a $10 Billion COVID-19 assistance program. The goal is to boost broadband internet access in rural communities. Funding total of $583 Million was provided for projects in Virginia West Virginia Louisiana New Hampshire.

Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (a portion of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act) is an unheard-of part that provides funds for broadband infrastructure as well other projects that allow work, education, and monitoring healthcare.

This program is different from the $65 billion separate initiative that was funded by the 2021 $1.2 Trillion infrastructure law in order to increase internet access.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner stated that there shouldn’t be an excuse for nearly every American home, including those north of 98% to not have high-speed broadband at an affordable price, in the next three years. It’s up to us to implement this well.

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Treasury stated that the initial state plans were approved by Treasury and they are intended to provide reliable internet service to households with multiple users.

Treasury announced that Virginia will be receiving $219.8million to increase broadband access in the “last mile”, which is 76,873 areas. West Virginia received $136.3million to link 20,000 locations. Louisiana was granted $176.7million to connect 88.500 homes and business. This is approximately 25% of the state’s locations without high-speed internet access.

New Hampshire will get $50 million to help 15,000 households and small businesses in rural areas. The state believes that about half the country is without high-speed internet access. Treasury also awarded $6 million to over 30 tribes to improve internet connectivity.

Congress approved last year $42.5 billion in Commerce Department grants for expanding physical broadband deployment, and $14.2 billion to FCC vouchers to low-income families for internet service plans. Participating households number more than 12.2 millions.