U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) announced that Louisiana is the first state to receive broadband funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) he helped author and pass into law last year. This $2,941,542 grant is for the planning of the deployment and adoption of affordable and reliable high-speed internet throughout the state.
During the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill negotiations, Cassidy pushed for a fair broadband formula that would benefit Louisiana’s needs and ensure the funding was directed to areas that lacked access to high-speed internet. The formula will be based on the number of unserved and underserved broadband recipients in each state as determined by new internet coverage maps expected to be completed by the FCC later this year. Louisiana is expected to receive over a billion dollars in total broadband funding from the infrastructure law over the next five years.
“Today’s announcement is just the start of around a billion dollars we can expect from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to increase broadband access in Louisiana. This will transform our children’s lives and grow our economy,” said Dr. Cassidy. “A student needs internet access at home to study online, the parents to telecommute, a business to reach its customers, and our state to attract new investment.”
Every U.S. state 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. The BEAD Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs.