The U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved $195.7 million in funding for high-speed internet projects in Washington state as part of the Capital Projects Fund (CPF) in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
The state estimates this funding will connect about 33,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet as a part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
“The pandemic upended life as we knew it and exposed the stark inequity in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country, including rural, Tribal, and other underrepresented communities,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a press release.
“This funding is a key piece of the Biden-Harris administration’s historic investments to increase access to high-speed internet for millions of Americans and provide more opportunities to fully participate and compete in the 21st century economy,” Adeyemo added.
With the new funding, Washington will implement three competitive broadband infrastructure programs that aim to provide reliable internet access to households across the state.
First, Washington’s State Broadband Office (SBO) broadband grant program will prioritize the investment of $118.5 million to provide reliable internet in communities without internet service, and then to those with internet speeds below 25/3 Mbps.
Additionally, the state will invest $43.7 million of its CPF award into the Public Works Board (PWB) Broadband Program, which provides high-speed internet in distressed rural counties or areas identified as Indian country.
Lastly, Washington will also invest $23.8 million towards the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) Rural Broadband Program to expand last-mile broadband access in rural areas without reliable internet.
The CPF is providing about $10 billion in total to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring.
A key priority of the CPF program is expanding economic opportunities and providing internet connectivity in communities with unmet needs.