Shreveport, LA – On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the first group of plans approved under the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund.
The CPF provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency.
The state plans approved in this first group will support broadband infrastructure and are designed, upon project completion, to deliver reliable internet service that meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps), speeds that are needed for a household with multiple users to simultaneously access the internet to telework and access education and health monitoring.
Eeach state’s plan requires all service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more by providing a discount of up to $30 per month.
Louisiana, approved for $176.7 million, will provide funding to connect nearly 88,500 homes and businesses currently lacking access to internet at speeds of 25/3 Mbps through the state’s the new Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) program, a multi-phase, broadband infrastructure competitive grant program. Louisiana estimates that projects receiving funding from this CPF award will close the digital divide for approximately 25% of all locations lacking high-speed internet access in the state.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said:
“We are grateful to be recognized and given approval by the Deputy Secretary of Treasury Wally Adeyemo as one of the first four states to have our State Broadband Grant Program (GUMBO) plan formally approved.
The digital divide presents a great challenge to the people of Louisiana, but it’s a challenge that we will overcome. Today’s announcement is a testament to the pace at which our State Office of Broadband (ConnectLa) is working to develop first rate polices and plans to ensure everyone in Louisiana has access to affordable, high-speed internet.”