(The Center Square) – Alaska is receiving $1 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, also known as BEAD.
The money is part of a $42.5 billion distributed to the 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“The BEAD allocation for Alaska will go a long way toward connecting unserved Alaskans with reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband,” said Christine O’Connor, executive director of the Alaska Telecom Association. “Alaska Telecom Association members have been connecting Alaskans for over 100 years and we look forward to working together to connect everyone in our great state.”
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, called the grant “historic.”
“I’m glad the administration listened to the delegation’s calls for investment in our state and recognized the need for greater deployment throughout Alaska,” Murkowski said. “We are now on the verge of providing thousands of Alaskans in rural communities with better, faster, more reliable access to the internet—a basic necessity that many in the Lower 48 take for granted.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said he shared Alaska’s unique challenges with his colleagues and federal officials.
“These funds will go a long way toward the goal of connecting every single Alaskan, which will unlock limitless possibilities in terms of telehealth, education, and small business opportunities,” Sullivan said. “Importantly, it will better allow Alaskans to connect with one another.