Washington to receive funding to expand internet access

The Washington proposal for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program was one of three approved Thursday by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

The Washington State Department of Commerce tells KXRO that this approval will enable the state to request access to over $1.2 billion allocated to begin implementation of its BEAD program. They say this is a major step toward closing the digital divide and meeting the goal of connecting everyone with affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service.  

“The BEAD Program has played a crucial role in bridging the digital divide and helping us meet our goal to bring Internet access to every person across Washington state,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Digital connectivity allows communities to tap into job, health care and education opportunities. I am grateful to the NTIA for approving Washington’s initial proposal and I look forward to the Washington State Broadband Office’s continued success in submitting proposals ensuring more Washingtonians and tribal nations receive Internet access.” 

“Washington is committed to investing in universal broadband access that is affordable, reliable, scalable, and sustainable,” said Washington State Broadband Office Director Aaron Wheeler. “Our goal is to support equitable economic development and connect every community throughout the state, with an end goal to provide full access to the digital economy and society.”

The BEAD program is a $42.45 billion state grant program authorized by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The states, territories and Washington D.C. were allocated funding to deploy or upgrade high-speed Internet networks.  

Once deployment goals are met, any remaining funding can be used on high-speed Internet adoption, training, and workforce development efforts, among other uses. 

In addition, the District of Columbia and Delaware were also approved, enabling access to over $100 million and $107 million respectively.

BEAD-eligible entities—the 56 states, territories, and the District of Columbia—are required to submit for NTIA’s approval an Initial Proposal detailing how they plan to spend their BEAD allocation to deliver high-speed Internet access to all unserved and underserved locations within their borders. All states submitted their Initial Proposals by December 27, 2023. NTIA provides weekly updates on the status of all 56 states and territories’ Initial Proposal here: https://internetforall.gov/bead-initial-proposal-progress-dashboard

NTIA will continue to announce approval of Initial Proposals on a rolling basis. 

Learn more about the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov

Learn more about Washington State’s Internet for All initiatives