Louisiana is the first State to receive a federal grant from the $42.45-billion BEAD program to expand the broadband internet networks in the unserved and underserved regions of the State.
Here are the details of the news.
Louisiana is First State to Receive Its BEAD Funding
Louisiana has received approval for its Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program proposal from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). With this approval, Louisiana has become the first of 56 states and territories to be eligible to receive its BEAD funding and get access to its entire $1.3 billion fund allocated through BEAD.
The Biden government initiated the $42.45 billion BEAD program in 2021 to improve infrastructure in the different states. Under the program, the State receives grants to deploy or upgrade broadband networks, ensuring that everyone in the State receives affordable, reliable, and high-speed Internet service.
NTIA announced Louisiana’s significant achievement on Friday. The agency previously approved Louisiana’s five-year BEAD plan and volume 1 of the State’s initial BEAD proposal. However, volume 2 of its BEAD proposal was not authorized earlier. NTIA has now approved Louisiana’s BEAD proposal for volume 2, allowing the State to take the necessary steps to execute its high-speed Internet projects through the use of allotted funding.
In a pre-briefing, NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson has said, “They can now move from planning to action.”
Davidson said, “I salute the ConnectLA team for developing a sophisticated and high-quality plan focused on creating jobs and building resilient networks that will serve the state for years to come.”
He also talked about the State’s workforce plan and applauded the State’s plan to encourage funding recipients to use buried fiber cabling, which has a low chance of getting damaged in bad weather.
In another statement, Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to President Biden on infrastructure coordination, said, “The state is on track to be the first state to break ground on high-speed internet networks.”
Louisiana’s accomplishment is substantial for reducing the digital divide in the State and providing reliable, high-speed Internet in unserved and underserved communities of the State.
Impact and Future Plans for Broadband Expansion
Thrilled by the announcement, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said, “Our plan stresses resilience, connectivity, and affordability, and we will implement it as submitted with shovel-ready projects set to begin next year.”
Referring to the State’s initial plan approval, the Governor said his administration has worked with a sense of urgency “to ensure that high-speed internet is not only accessible but reliable for every single Louisianan.”
Governor Edwards hopes to create more job opportunities in his State through improving infrastructure with the funding. He noted, “Our partnership with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System will make certain we develop a very strong, skilled, and credentialed workforce for the infrastructure jobs that are to come.”
The BEAD funding will enable Louisiana to bring people under high-speed Internet, especially in rural areas. This will provide people with many facilities, including remote education, online jobs, emergency health facilities, information access, etc. The development will help Louisiana to boost its overall economy in the long run.
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