State News

Georgia receives $6.4M federal grant to help with planning of broadband deployment

(The Center Square) — The feds are sending more than $6.4 million to Georgia to help the state plan to deploy high-speed internet, and a state lawmaker indicated that number could increase to more than $100 million.

The money, awarded by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, is part of the “Internet for All” grant program.

Funding for the program was included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which some politicians call the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. With the money, state officials will plan how to deploy “affordable, equitable, and reliable” internet statewide and develop “digital skills training programs.”

“These new funds will jump start Georgia’s ability to provide affordable and reliable, high-speed internet service across the state, and open up greater opportunities for work and education,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in an announcement.

Georgia will receive nearly $5 million from the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment program, which it will use to, in part, identify “unserved and underserved locations.” The Peach State also received more than $1.4 million from the Digital Equity Act program to, in part, create “an asset inventory of digital equity programs across the state” and work with the Georgia Digital Equity Taskforce.

According to a release, 56 states and territories applied for planning grant dollars through the BEAD and Digital Equity Act programs. The feds said they are announcing awards on an ongoing basis.

State Sen. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia, lauded President Joe Biden’s administration for awarding Georgia the grant.

“A zip code should not determine whether a child can attend school online, or a parent participate in a team meeting, or a family wanting to order something from a store,” Anderson said in a statement. “Broadband is a need just as much as electricity and water. We cannot be satisfied until residents from all 159 counties have reliable broadband service.”

According to Anderson, the $6.4 million will increase to more than $100 million “in the coming years.”

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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