During an event at the White House today, President Joe Biden, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and federal telecommunication leaders announced that Massachusetts will receive $147 million from the national Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The program will use $42 billion in federal funds to expand high-speed internet nationwide, including in Massachusetts and the other 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and other federal territories. Massachusetts Director of Federal Funds & Infrastructure Quentin Palfrey and Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech Michael Baldino attended the White House event.
“We are grateful to President Biden, Secretary Raimondo, and our entire congressional delegation for their leadership on this critical work to expand digital equity across the country,” said Governor Maura Healey. “With these funds, Massachusetts will build on ongoing work to ensure that our residents can access the affordable and reliable broadband service they need to work, learn, access healthcare resources, and connect with loved ones.”
“What this announcement means for people across the country is that if you don’t have access to quality, affordable high-speed Internet service now – you will, thanks to President Biden and his commitment to investing in America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber-optic cable in America, or creating good paying jobs building Internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come.”
In Massachusetts, funding will be deployed through a five-year action plan and proposal that the Massachusetts Broadband Institute is developing through ongoing engagement with the Massachusetts Broadband and Digital Equity Working Group, the recent statewide Broadband & Digital Equity Summit on June 13, and the statewide Digital Equity survey that seeks input from Massachusetts residents about their barriers to internet access, affordability, and adoption. The plan and proposal are due to the federal government later this year.
“This new funding from the BEAD program will be a gamechanger for Massachusetts and the grant programs that will flow out of our statewide digital equity planning effort,” said Quentin Palfrey, Massachusetts Director of Federal Funds & Infrastructure. “This funding will continue Massachusetts’s legacy of leveraging federal investment to build an economy around innovation and learning by ensuring residents statewide can adopt the 21st century digital tools that many of us take for granted.”
“Expanding digital equity is essential to building a healthy economy that benefits all of our residents,” said Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao. “We are grateful this funding will boost our ongoing state planning effort to close the digital divide and ensure people across Massachusetts can get online and participate fully in our state’s growing economy.”
“Massachusetts has built a strong network of partners across the state to ready ourselves for this federal investment,” said Undersecretary of Economic Foundations Ashley Stolba. “We look forward to working with communities through our Digital Equity Working Group, the statewide survey, and upcoming listening sessions to ensure these funds fill connectivity gaps and expand digital adoption in our cities and towns.”
“Over the last decade, we’ve made great progress to close the rural infrastructure gaps that existed and during the COVID-19 public health crisis, piloted programs that addressed digital inequities and spurred broadband adoption that we are now able to scale and expand to achieve transformational change,” said Michael Baldino, Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech. “Prior federal investments from NTIA led to the buildout of core infrastructure that provided the foundation for our projects that connected thousands of Massachusetts residents and small businesses who were previously cut off from broadband access. Through BEAD, we see the opportunity to launch new broadband programs that will positively impact the lives of residents across the state for years to come.”
The Massachusetts Broadband Institute will also host a series of regional listening sessions to solicit direct feedback from across the state about digital equity needs and opportunities later this year. A full overview of the state’s ongoing engagement around broadband and digital equity programs can be found on the Massachusetts Broadband Institute website at https://broadband.masstech.org/internetforall.
About the Massachusetts Broadband Institute
A division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) is working to extend high-speed internet access and availability across the Commonwealth. To achieve this, the MBI utilizes state and federal funding to launch infrastructure expansion programs that target areas of the state which lack high-speed internet access, as well as digital equity programs which tackle barriers to internet adoption and increase availability, addressing critical issues around affordability, enhanced public Wi-Fi, the need for internet-enabled devices, and digital literacy training. Learn more at https://broadband.masstech.org.