Home News Do D.C. and Rhode Island Really Need $200 Million for Broadband Access?

Do D.C. and Rhode Island Really Need $200 Million for Broadband Access?


President Joe Biden’s administration is investing $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access across America. Many states already have near-universal access to broadband, but they’ll still receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

Last week the White House announced state allocations for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, declaring that the program aims to “connect everyone in America to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by the end of the decade.” At this point, more than 90 percent of American households already have net connections with speeds at least four times faster than BEAD’s definition of “high-speed internet.” Yet the legislation that established BEAD requires each state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, to receive a minimum of $100 million regardless of need or population.

As a result, states (especially small states) with more broadband access will tend to receive more funding per capita than states with millions of unserved residents:

For example, 99.8 percent of Rhode Island residents have broadband access, according to BroadbandNow, which got its results by combining data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and private telecommunications companies. The state, which has a population…

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