The US Treasury Department on Tuesday selected four states that will be the first to tap into the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF), a $10 billion fund for broadband infrastructure and other digital connectivity projects.
The initial round of funding from the CPF, totaling $583 million, will go to projects in Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia and West Virginia. All told, the first funding round should bring high-speed internet to more than 200,000 homes.
The state plans are intended to deliver reliable internet service that meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps), so that multiple people in one household can simultaneously use the internet for telework, virtual education or virtual health monitoring.
Louisiana is slated to receive $176.7 million to improve connectivity at nearly 88,500 homes and businesses that currently lack access to internet at speeds of 25/3 Mbps. Louisiana estimates that the new funding should close the digital divide for approximately 25% of all locations lacking high-speed internet access in the state.
New Hampshire's initial award of $50 million will serve about 15,000 homes and businesses in rural and remote areas, representing approximately 50% of locations in the state that lack access to high-speed internet.
Virginia, meanwhile, will receive $219.8 million to expand last-mile broadband access to an estimated 76,873 locations -- approximately 28% of the locations in the state that lack access to high-quality broadband service.
West Virginia is receiving $136.3 million to serve 20,000 locations, or approximately 10% of locations in the state that lack access to high-speed internet.
Congress approved the CPF as part of the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Separately, President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure package included more than $65 billion to build out broadband networks. That funding allocation included a $14 billion program to subsidize consumers' internet bills.