By SDCN Editor
Sacramento, CA–Governor Gavin Newsom Monday issued a statement after the Biden-Harris Administration announced its allocation of funding to deploy high-speed Internet access to everyone in America. California will receive $1.86 billion in funding from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program as part of President Biden’s 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“Together with the Biden-Harris Administration, we’re connecting millions of Californians with reliable, affordable high-speed Internet. With the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, billions of dollars are headed our way, boosting our efforts to provide all Californians – regardless of zip code – access to the Internet,” Governor Newsom said.
This infusion of funding will help build on the work done in recent years with the Legislature to cut red tape around broadband infrastructure projects and get high-speed Internet access to more Californians, helping make the digital divide a thing of the past.”
This historic allocation nearly doubles the amount of available funding for “last-mile” broadband infrastructure in California. In 2021, Newsom signed historic legislation allocating $6 billion for achieving Broadband for All, including $2 billion for similar “last-mile” projects and $3.25 billion for the middle-mile network, and last year’s budget put an additional $550 million toward the project as it moves into construction.
As part of the 2021 funding, Newsom and the Legislature streamlined state permitting regulations for the middle-mile project – through CEQA exemptions and alternative delivery methods – that have cut project permitting timelines from 30 months to under one year. Newsom is working this year on similar streamlining to boost critical infrastructure construction across the state.
Last year, California began construction on the nearly $4 billion broadband statewide “middle mile” initiative, which will be the nation’s largest broadband backbone infrastructure network. Roughly one in five Californians do not have access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet. Once complete, funding for “last mile” efforts will support internet connections from “middle mile” lines to homes and businesses, as well as efforts to ensure individuals can afford broadband service where it already exists.
Californians interested in seeing if they qualify for discounted high-speed internet services can visit InternetForAll.gov.