Today, Governor Roy Cooper sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce declaring North Carolina’s intent to participate in the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.
“State and federal partnerships are critical to helping us close the digital divide and North Carolina is all in on getting internet for all,” said Governor Cooper. “This effort will pave the way toward a future where everyone will have access to high-speed and high-quality internet.”
“North Carolina’s participation in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program will bring additional funding to connect unserved households and businesses across the state with high-speed internet service,” said N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Deputy Secretary for Broadband and Digital Equity Nate Denny. “We look forward to working with both our federal and local partners in this initiative so more North Carolinians can benefit from crucial access to online work, education and healthcare resources.”
On May 13, Governor Cooper joined U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to announce the launch of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet For All initiative in Durham. Administered and implemented by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Internet for All initiative will invest $45 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet for everyone in America by the end of the decade. The BEAD Program is one of the three Internet for All Notices of Funding Opportunity.
The BEAD Program expands high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs across the country. To participate in the program, eligible entities must submit a letter of intent and a planning funds project to allow states to begin creating their five-year action plan.
Governor Cooper has designated the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT)’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity as the recipient and administering agent for BEAD Program awards and NCDIT Deputy Secretary of Broadband and Digital Equity Nate Denny as North Carolina’s point of contact. The Governor has requested $5 million in initial planning funds for the state.
Expanding access to high-speed internet in North Carolina is a key priority for Governor Cooper. In July 2021, the Governor announced the creation of the nation’s first Office of Digital Equity and Literacy. In 2018, the Governor launched the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant Program to bring high-speed internet to thousands of North Carolinians, businesses and farms in rural areas. The GREAT Grant Program has invested more than $55 million to connect over 40,000 households and businesses to broadband. Currently, 305 applications are under review for the next $350 million in GREAT grants funded by the American Rescue Plan.
Read Governor Cooper’s letter.