December 20, 2022
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that New Jersey received its first “Internet for All” grants for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative. New Jersey is receiving $6,098,830.90 in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden, to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the state.
NTIA Director of Public Engagement Mark Colon announced the grants alongside officials from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and Mayor Reed Gusciora at the Trenton Public Library in Trenton, N.J.
“We are certain our students, our businesses, and our residents will reap the benefits from this unprecedented program,” Mayor Reed Gusciora said. “Trenton is excited for this opportunity and we look forward to building these bridges to span the digital divide.” — City of Trenton Mayor Gusciora
“The Internet is an essential service that gives access to healthcare, education, and employment that everyone in the Garden State should have,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “I commend Governor Murphy for his support of the Internet for All initiative.”
“High-speed broadband is essential for work, school, and staying connected to family and friends,” said New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. “Expanding broadband access helps level the technology playing field and grows our nation’s economic competitiveness. I was proud to vote for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and I’m grateful for the partnership with federal, state, and local officials to increase digital equity and access to high-speed internet in every community.”
“New Jersey thanks the Biden Administration and our congressional delegation for securing crucial funding that will dramatically expand access to affordable high-speed internet in our state,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “Since the outset of my Administration, I have been determined to restore and revamp our infrastructure, which includes not just roads and bridges, but the broadband that connects our residents to opportunity and each other. It’s comprehensive federal investments like these that will continue to make our state fairer and our communities more equitable for generations to come.”
“These days, high-speed internet is not a luxury – it’s a necessity,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. “Americans depend on internet access to do their jobs, run their small businesses, study for school, meet with their doctor for a telehealth visit, and connect with family and friends. The COVID-19 pandemic made it all too clear that we must do more to bridge the digital divide and ensure every household has access to the internet. That’s exactly why I fought to include the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program and the Digital Equity Program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This first round of funding will help New Jersey make sure residents are included in our effort to deploy broadband access equitably. I’m looking forward to working with the National Telecommunications Information Administration so that every New Jerseyan has broadband access.”
“Reliable internet access is critical for our education systems, health care, small businesses, and job creation,” said Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01). “Investing in broadband infrastructure will bring economic opportunity to New Jersey and closing the digital divide by ensuring internet access is equitable will increase the quality of life for hardworking families. I’m proud to have voted for this funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and look forward to improving internet access for all New Jersey families.”
“I would like to thank the Biden-Harris Administration for prioritizing Broadband. These two critical grants will help us to expand high-speed Internet access to thousands more New Jerseyans while ensuring digital equity,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. “In this day and age everyone should have high speed Internet through which they can access remote education opportunities for themselves and their children, take advantage of telehealth or work from home. There are still far too many New Jersey residents and businesses who don’t have access to high speed Internet and it is the Murphy Administration’s goal to make sure that they do as quickly as possible.”
All 50 U.S. states and six territories applied for planning grant funding for the Internet for All initiative’s Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act program. Grant awards for all 56 eligible entities will be announced on a rolling basis.
About New Jersey’s Planning Grants
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program
The BEAD Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.
New Jersey will receive $4,922,089.90 to fund various activities including:
- Research and data collection, including initial identification of unserved locations and underserved locations;
- Publications, outreach, and communications support;
- Technical assistance to potential subgrantees, including through workshops and events;
- Surveys of unserved, underserved, and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to adoption.
The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The first part of NTIA’s execution of the Digital Equity Act is to fund digital equity planning efforts.
New Jersey will receive $1,176,741.00 to fund various activities including:
- Closing the digital equity gap and the development of a Statewide Digital Equity Plan;
- Staff recruitment and development;
- Community and stakeholder engagement.
Internet for All
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.
Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to learn more.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.
Photos by: Brian McCarthy