How State Grants Support Broadband Deployment

17 Dec 2021


High-speed internet access is essential to modern life. However, millions of people across the country still lack sufficient access to broadband service, largely because they live in rural communities, which are the most difficult and expensive to serve.1 The challenges of deploying broadband network infrastructure in rural locations, particularly low population density and difficult terrain, create high costs and low returns on investment that discourage providers from expanding into those areas.2 

For policymakers seeking to improve the availability of broadband service for their constituents, then, the task is to create a business case that will encourage internet service providers (ISPs) to extend connectivity to areas where the costs of deployment are high. One way states have sought to remedy this availability gap is by establishing grant programs that provide funding to help areas without high-speed internet service build needed infrastructure.3 Congress has also taken action by appropriating federal funds for broadband deployment, including through the American Rescue Plan’s state and local fiscal recovery and capital projects funds and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.4 And research indicates that state programs have been effective in increasing the availability of high-speed internet service.

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