LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar has announced that the state of Texas will receive $8.1 million in the first round of its “Internet for All” grants.
The grants are to be used for the deployment of high-speed internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the federal Internet for All initiative.
Cuellar said Texas is receiving the funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the state.
“Whether it’s helping our children access their online assignments or connecting patients with their tele-health appointments, the Internet has become a daily part of our lives. The necessity for broadband and high-speed internet has never been greater,” Cuellar said. “I voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last year to bridge the digital divide for those who lack reliable internet access. Today’s award is the first step in ensuring the entire State of Texas is online and prepared for the ever-changing world of tomorrow.”
The White House issued a statement about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It said it wants to ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet.
“Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet, by one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural communities throughout the country,” the White House stated.
“According to the latest OECD data, among 35 countries studied, the United States has the second highest broadband costs. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will deliver $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation will also help lower prices for internet service and help close the digital divide, so that more Americans can afford internet access.”
OECD stands for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
In a news release, Congressman Cuellar said Texas will receive $5 million through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to fund various activities including:
- Helping close the broadband availability gap and the development of a Five-Year Action Plan;
- Research and data collection, including initial identification of unserved locations and underserved locations;
- Publications, outreach, and communications support.
The BEAD Program provides funding to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.
Additionally, Texas will receive $3.1 million from the Digital Equity Act to fund various activities including:
- Helping close the digital equity gap and the development of a Statewide Digital Equity Plan;
- Soliciting proposals through a competitive procurement process and issue contracts to support the development of the state digital equity plan;
- Working directly with organizations and nonprofits to reach the covered populations identified;
- Fostering partnerships by holding frequent subgrantee roundtables and other engagement activities;
- Establishing a digital equity planning coalition comprised of each subgrantee and potential other partners around the state.
Cuellar said the Digital Equity Act provides funding 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. He added that the first part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s execution of the Digital Equity Act is to fund digital equity planning efforts.
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