RALEIGH – North Carolina will receive more than $1.5 billion in federal funding to expand the reach of high-speed internet funding across the state where it is not available, the Biden Administration announced Monday.

At a press conference in Washington, the administration outlined how states across the country will be receiving billions of dollars in federal funding for high-speed internet access, highlighting the US government’s push to bring connectivity to more Americans and to close the digital divide.

Nineteen states received more than $1 billion in the final allocation, the White House said. The 10 states receiving the most funding were Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington. The funding for the broadband plan already has created hundreds of new jobs in North Carolina, the White House added.

Federal broadband funding already has triggered creation of more jobs in NC

More than $42 billion from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law will be distributed to US states and territories for building internet access, the White House said — with Texas eligible for the largest award of more than $3.3 billion, followed by California, which could receive more than $1.8 billion.

“For those of us that are blessed to have clean air and save water, or to have the highest speed internet, you know, we just kind of take it for granted,” said Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to President Biden and his infrastructure coordinator. “Sometimes we forget that a lot of our fellow Americans just don’t [have access].”

New data released earlier this month by the state of North Carolina broke down locations where high-speed net access is lacking. The new funding is based largely on data gathered about internet access by the FCC. In North Carolina, data shows there are wide disparities in the state when it comes to how connected residents are. Wake, Dare and Orange counties have the lowest percentage of residents without access to the internet. It’s about one out of every 20 households in those areas don’t have it.

But in some counties like Northampton, Bertie and Robeson, it’s much more common to not have access – more than one out of every three households there lack connection. Landrieu said the funding will level the playing field for more than 376,000 households across the state.

"One of the biggest parts of this, of course, is making sure that people can participate in modern life," Landrieu said. "And you cannot do this in modern America without having access to the internet."

"When you give them the tools, all of a sudden, diversity is one of this country's greatest strengths, brilliant people who couldn't get connected before, all of a sudden start creating new products, entrepreneurship, innovation," Landrieu said.

Latest NC broadband access maps

Where high-speed internet is lacking. (N.C. Department of Information Technology map)

All US states and territories have been awarded at least some funding, starting with the US Virgin Islands, which is eligible for $27 million under the initiative known as the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.

The BEAD program marks one of the largest-ever infusions of federal money for bringing disconnected households and businesses online. And it reflects months of work by the US government to design new and updated broadband maps showing which areas of the country remain unserved or under-served.

Finalized by the Federal Communications Commission last month, the new maps show that 7% of US households and businesses, representing 8.5 million physical locations and tens of millions of individual Americans, do not have broadband internet access, which is defined as internet download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second. The new maps provide information about internet connectivity at a granular level, whereas previous maps assessed connectivity only at a census-block level. The older maps also considered a census block to be served if just one household in that block had broadband access, even if many of its surrounding neighbors did not — leaving many Americans to report that they had no high-speed internet even when the official maps claimed that they did.


Lack of high-speed internet access locations surge more than 100,000, NC says

The updated maps allowed the US government to calculate which states had the greatest need for broadband funding and to distribute the infrastructure law’s resources accordingly. States and territories may begin applying for the funds as soon as July 1, the White House said. After the applications are approved by the Commerce Department, state officials will gain access to at least 20% of their eligible awards.

Under the infrastructure law, US states had been guaranteed at least $100 million in BEAD funding, while US territories were promised at least $25 million.

Nineteen states received more than $1 billion in the final allocation, the White House said, adding that the 10 states receiving the most funding were Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

NC fiber network provider MCNC lands $11M+ in federal funding

The funding announced Monday complements another $23 billion across five separate broadband access programs included in the legislation, such as a program specifically aimed at Tribal connectivity and another for low-income households. And it follows a $25 billion investment under the American Rescue Plan, the 2021 Covid-19 stimulus package.

Monday’s announcement marked the launch of a three-week nationwide tour by President Joe Biden and other White House officials to tout the administration’s economic plan.

Here’s how much each state received:

  • Alabama: $1,401,221,901.77
  • Alaska: $1,017,139,672.42
  • Arizona: $993,112,231.37
  • Arkansas: $1,024,303,993.86
  • California: $1,864,136,508.93
  • Colorado: $826,522,650.41
  • Connecticut: $144,180,792.71
  • Delaware: $107,748,384.66
  • District of Columbia: $100,694,786.93
  • Florida: $1,169,947,392.70
  • Georgia: $1,307,214,371.30
  • Hawaii: $149,484,493.57
  • Idaho: $583,256,249.88
  • Illinois: $1,040,420,751.50
  • Indiana: $868,109,929.79
  • Iowa: $415,331,313.00
  • Kansas: $451,725,998.15
  • Kentucky: $1,086,172,536.86
  • Louisiana: $1,355,554,552.94
  • Maine: $271,977,723.07
  • Maryland: $267,738,400.71
  • Massachusetts: $147,422,464.39
  • Michigan: $1,559,362,479.29
  • Minnesota: $651,839,368.20
  • Mississippi: $1,203,561,563.05
  • Missouri: $1,736,302,708.39
  • Montana: $628,973,798.59
  • Nebraska: $405,281,070.41
  • Nevada: $416,666,229.74
  • New Hampshire: $196,560,278.97
  • New Jersey: $263,689,548.65
  • New Mexico: $675,372,311.86
  • New York: $664,618,251.49
  • North Carolina: $1,532,999,481.15
  • North Dakota: $130,162,815.12
  • Ohio: $793,688,107.63
  • Oklahoma: $797,435,691.25
  • Oregon: $688,914,932.17
  • Pennsylvania: $1,161,778,272.41
  • Rhode Island: $108,718,820.75
  • South Carolina: $551,535,983.05
  • South Dakota: $207,227,523.92
  • Tennessee: $813,319,680.22
  • Texas: $3,312,616,455.45
  • Utah: $317,399,741.54
  • Vermont: $228,913,019.08
  • Virginia: $1,481,489,572.87
  • Washington: $1,227,742,066.30
  • West Virginia: $1,210,800,969.85
  • Wisconsin: $1,055,823,573.71
  • Wyoming: $347,877,921.27
  • American Samoa: $37,564,827.53
  • Guam: $156,831,733.59
  • Northern Mariana Islands: $80,796,709.02
  • Puerto Rico: $334,614,151.70
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: $27,103,240.86