21,000 Nebraska homes and businesses to benefit from broadband initiative, officials say

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The White House announced on Tuesday that five states, including Nebraska, will receive a total of $10 billion to provide broadband internet access to underserved communities.

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Development Program identifies unserved and underserved communities as those that have no or very little access to the internet.

Funding to expand internet accessibility is being provided through the American Rescue Plan Act under President Joe Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative.

Grants for Connecticut, Indiana, North Dakota and Arkansas were also announced.

All areas receiving assistance to expand internet access will meet or exceed download speeds of 100 megabits per second.

Each state will also offer financial assistance to low-income families to ensure that they can afford internet for work, school and health care.  Qualifying households will receive a discount through the Federal Trade Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program of up to $30 a month or $75 on tribal lands.

Nebraska officials estimate that 21,000 homes and businesses will benefit from the $87.7 million in approved funding.

During Nebraska’s 2021 legislative session, Gov. Pete Ricketts signed the Broadband Bridge Act into law.

During its first year, the program awarded $19.2 million across 61 grants to internet providers across Nebraska.

Dan Watermeier, chair of the Nebraska Public Service Commission, said that applications for the newly announced funds are not yet being accepted and that the application window will open at a later date.

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