'As essential as water or electricity'; Sen. Murray celebrates launch of 'Internet for All' initiative

The Biden Administration has launched the ‘Internet for All’ initiative, which U.S. Senator Patty Murray says will help connect all of Washington to high-speed internet.

On Friday, the initiative officially launched, with the aim of investing $65 billion in affordable broadband internet for everyone in America by the end of the decade.

"Having a reliable high-speed internet connection is just as essential as having running water or electricity. Families need high speed internet for their school, their jobs, their health care, and so much more," said Murray. "That’s why I fought hard to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included my Digital Equity Act, to put us on a path towards universal broadband and make sure everyone can make the most of a high-speed internet connection. This funding will help make sure we get high-speed internet to every community in Washington state—from the Yakima Valley to Bellingham—and it’s going to open countless doors and create real opportunity for workers, students, seniors, and so many others."

The senator's office says the initiative also draws on Murray's 2019 ‘Digital Equity Act’ to provide $2.75 billion in grant funding for states, tribes and other communities. This money can be used for things beyond just broadband infrastructure, like laptops for school students or digital literacy courses for seniors.

The initiative also launched with three separate programs that organizations can apply for:

  • Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program; $42.5 billion
  • Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program; $1 billion
  • State Digital Equity Act programs; $1.5 billion

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Applying for these programs requires organizations to create long-term action plans to get their projects moving, and the BEAD Program guarantees each state a minimum $100 million allocation.

The initiative will be administered by U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NITA).