Texas receives greatest amount of money from feds for broadband expansion



(The Center Square) – The federal government has allocated more than $3 billion for broadband expansion in Texas.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Thursday his office’s Broadband Development Office received word it was allocated $3.3 billion in federal funding for broadband expansion. The Texas legislature established the BDO in 2021 “to award grants, low-interest loans and other financial incentives to applicants seeking to expand access to and adoption of broadband service in designated areas determined to be eligible by the office,” the comptroller’s office said.

The BDO is receiving funds through the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The law authorized approximately $42.5 billion in federal funds for broadband expansion through a newly created national Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

This Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently announced that the multibillion-dollar taxpayer and debt funding scheme will finance critical infrastructure projects statewide to increase access to reliable, high-speed internet and help close the availability gap in Texas.

Texas received the most money of any state.

“Historically, Texas has typically been a donor state, meaning our tax dollars would go to Washington and then get sent out to fund projects in other states,” Hegar said. “It’s good to see our hard-earned tax dollars coming back to Texas, and you can be certain that each of those dollars will be spent wisely.”

Before the comptroller’s office can distribute the funds, it must first submit a proposal to NTIA describing its BEAD-funded grant programs. The proposal process is directly informed by public feedback, the comptroller’s office said, and will be engaging with communities statewide to ensure funding allocation has the most meaningful impact.

His office is expected to begin accepting grant applications for the BEAD program in 2024.

“This funding exceeds the amounts allocated to any other state or territory because the challenge facing our state is unique,” Hegar said. “Texas has a large population with a significant share of unserved areas spread over a vast and geographically diverse landscape. The bipartisan legislation that appropriated these funds recognized the importance of giving states the flexibility to meet the needs of their unique populations. I am encouraged that NTIA recognizes the challenges we face in Texas. And I hope as NTIA evaluates our proposal in the coming months, that it gives Texas the freedom and latitude to bridge the digital divide without needless restrictions.”

Texans can learn more about the BEAD program and community outreach opportunities here.



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