Louisiana is first state to get full BEAD plan approval and can now get access to funds

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Louisiana Becomes the First State Authorized to Request Access to BEAD Funds

Louisiana became the first state authorized to request access to BEAD funds. The NTIA’s approval throws open access to the state’s allocated $1.3 billion and allows Louisiana to start selecting award subgrantees

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has approved Louisiana’s Initial Proposal for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.

Louisiana is the first state to reach this important milestone, which will enable the state to move from the planning phase to the implementation phase for the BEAD program—a major step towards closing the digital divide in Louisiana and meeting the President’s goal of connecting everyone in America with affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service.

The NTIA’s approval throws open access to the state’s allocated $1.3 billion and allows Louisiana to start selecting award subgrantees.

“President Biden has been clear that everyone in America needs access to quality, affordable high-speed internet so that they can fully participate in our modern economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Today, Louisiana is taking a major step toward ensuring that no one in the state is held back by a lack of Internet access. I congratulate Governor Edwards and the team at ConnectLA on this terrific achievement for Louisiana’s workers, businesses, communities, and families.”

The BEAD program is a $42.45 billion state grant program authorized by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. States and territories will use the funding to deploy or upgrade broadband networks to ensure that everyone has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet service. Once deployment goals are met, any remaining funding can be used on high-speed Internet adoption, training, and workforce development efforts, among other eligible uses.

“The Internet is the essential tool for communication in today’s world. Today, Louisiana is one step closer to delivering affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service to all,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson. “I salute the ConnectLA team for developing a sophisticated and high-quality plan focused on creating jobs and building resilient networks that will serve the state for years to come.”

BEAD-eligible entities—the 56 states, territories, and the District of Columbia—are required to submit for NTIA’s approval an Initial Proposal detailing how they plan to spend their BEAD allocation to deliver high-speed Internet access to all unserved and underserved locations within their borders. All states must submit Initial Proposals by December 27, 2023. NTIA provides weekly updates on the status of all 56 states and territories’ Initial Proposal here: https://internetforall.gov/bead-initial-proposal-progress-dashboard.

“Under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’ve made a historic $90 billion investment to deliver affordable, reliable high-speed Internet to everyone in America,” said Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “Today’s announcement, which marks an incredible milestone for my home state of Louisiana, shows that we are making real progress towards closing the digital divide and connecting all Louisianans with high-speed Internet. Whether we’re talking about Internet access, clean water, or clean energy, President Biden is delivering for my home state like never before.”

“This is a is a monumental achievement that emphasizes Louisiana’s commitment to equity in internet usage. Being the first state authorized to request access to BEAD funds, we are leading the way in closing the digital divide, ensuring that every citizen has affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband access,” said Rep. Troy Carter. “By prioritizing the internet as an essential tool for communication, Louisiana sets an example for other states in utilizing BEAD funds to bridge technological disparities, creating a more inclusive and connected society.”