NTIA Hands Out Over a Quarter-Billion Dollars for Broadband

fiber optics
(Image credit: Carlos. E. Serrano/Getty Images)

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration has begun handing out its billions in broadband subsidies through the administration's Broadband Infrastructure Program (the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act subsidies), which it says is going to unserved households, particularly in rural areas.

The NTIA has said it would prioritize the money to unserved households first, but the Biden administration has made it clear that it is factoring in price, speed and quality into the served-vs-unserved equation.

Also: OTI's Sarah Morris Joins NTIA

NTIA said Friday (Feb. 25) that it has awarded $277 million in 13 grants to a dozen states — Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, West Virginia — and the territory of Guam. NTIA says that will mean broadband to more than 133,000 unserved households.

The money is mostly for last-mile projects with a couple of middle-mile projects mixed in.

Also: Commerce Urges Broadband Spending on Fiber Workforce

“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we now have the opportunity to connect every unserved household in the country, ensuring that all Americans are able to participate in our 21st-century economy," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. [NTIA is an arm of the Commerce Department]. This is not only a win for American families who need and deserve high-speed, affordable internet for remote learning and telehealth services, but this also presents an incredible opportunity for American businesses and will make our country more competitive globally.” 

The NTIA will also be giving out $42.5 billion in broadband subsidies to the states through a separate infrastructure-related subsidy tranche. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.