President Joe Biden yesterday unveiled a proposed $5.8 trillion budget for 2023, that included over $600 million for additional broadband funding through the USDA’s ReConnect program, which provides grands and loans to deploy broadband to unserved areas, especially tribal areas.
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, applicants must serve an area without broadband service at speeds of 100 megabits per second downstream and 20 Mbps upstream, and commit to building facilities capable of providing broadband service at speeds of 100 Mbps (downstream and upstream) to every location in its proposed service area.
The budget also provides $25 million to help rural telecommunications cooperatives refinance their rural utilities service debt and upgrade their broadband facilities.
The funding request is coming at the time when the administration is finalizing guidelines covering approximately$48 billion in broadband grant programs funded by the administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill which contains $65 billion for broadband.
“The White House’s proposed budget makes important strides to get all Americans access to the Internet,” Eric Slee, director of government affairs at the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, said in a Monday statement.