Today, President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law.
We commend Congress and the administration on this historic legislation, which includes $65 billion to support closing the digital divide at a time when the necessity of connectivity to every American is clearer than ever.
This transformative investment in internet infrastructure will help provide:
- High-speed connectivity to unserved areas
- Affordability measures for low-income households
- Expanded resources for digital equity and adoption
The new funding joins broadband funding that Congress and the administration have already made available at unprecedented levels over the last year through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). ARP is enabling states, counties, municipalities, and Tribal communities to tailor their approaches to closing the digital divide based on the specific needs of their communities where private sector funding on its own isn’t enough.
Many states and communities are already turning ARP dollars into concrete plans to build more broadband, and we’re proud to say that some have selected AT&T as their partner.
For example, in rural Vanderburgh County, Indiana, we have committed to delivering high-speed fiber internet to more than 20,000 households and businesses over the next two years as part of a $39 million public-private project with the support of ARP funding.
Two key broadband funding sources through ARP — which are currently accepting applications for a variety of uses — can be found here:
- $350 billion Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund: Application | Guidance | FAQ
- $10 billion Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund: Application | Guidance: State & Tribal
Even with such significant government funding, private companies are continuing to invest. It’s what AT&T has been doing for more than 145 years.
We’ve invested more in the U.S. over the last five years than any other public company to keep our customers and communities connected. And in the last year alone, private internet providers invested nearly $80 billion to deploy broadband throughout America.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to expanding connectivity, we know from experience that communities fare better when leaders come together with the private sector to solve connectivity challenges.
Broadband is an essential part of modern life, and we all must do our parts to make it more ubiquitous. We support smart investments that foster economic growth and improved productivity, and we look forward to working with leaders across the country to maximize the reach and impact of this landmark investment to close the digital divide.