The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides federal funds for broadband deployment and development. Under the Act, each state is guaranteed a minimum of $100 million dollars to fund broadband projects. On December 22, 2021, Governor Wolf signed Act 96 of 2021 into law creating the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, which is responsible for planning for and distributing federal money for the purposes of broadband development and deployment.
FCC National Broadband Map
The FCC’s broadband access map shows all broadband serviceable locations across the United States where fixed broadband internet access service is or can be installed. The Commonwealth’s allocation of funding for broadband deployment under the federal infrastructure law is dependent upon the map being accurate. The challenge process regarding the map’s accuracy is now closed.
Statewide Broadband Plan
The Commonwealth was required to adopt a Statewide Broadband Plan by December 22, 2022 under Act 96 of 2021. The Plan, unanimously adopted by the Authority in November of 2022, was developed over several months with input from experts, industry leaders and stakeholders, including local government. It is a living document, outlining the goals and steps needed to achieve universal broadband in the Commonwealth. Please view the Statewide Broadband Plan here.
BEAD Program and Digital Equity Act
The Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program provides $42.45 billion to states for the purpose of administering grants to eligible grantees, including municipalities, for broadband projects that improve access in unserved or underserved areas. The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to states to ensure individuals and communities have the skills and tools needed to fully participate in today’s society. Both programs were created through the IIJA, and funding for each state will be determined by the FCC broadband map once it is finalized. Once funds are received, states will develop and administer grant programs for eligible entities to complete broadband projects.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority was awarded $6.6 million to develop a five-year action plan for BEAD and Digital Equity. The BEAD action plan must be completed by mid-August 2023, and the Digital Equity plan must be completed by October 2023. Funds for these programs are expected to be distributed to states sometime next year.
The BEAD and Digital Equity Programs are administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Please see the additional resources below.
- Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program Website
- BEAD Program FAQs
- Digital Equity Act Website
- Digital Equity Act FAQs
- December 9, 2022 – Broadband Listening Sessions to Be Held Across the Commonwealth
- December 8, 2022 – Gov. Wolf Announces Pennsylvania Receiving $6.6 Million to Make Broadband Accessible for All
- December 1, 2022 – Pennsylvanians Urged to Review New FCC Broadband Access Map for the Commonwealth by January 13
- November 28, 2022 – Gov. Wolf Announces Plan to Expand Broadband Across Commonwealth
- November 22, 2022 – Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority Announces Partnership with Penn State Extension to Expand Access to High-Speed Internet