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The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provides $65 billion to connect all Americans to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband Internet. Within BIL there are several programs that support broadband planning, infrastructure, and adoption. Wisconsin will administer funding under the Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment Program (BEAD) and Digital Equity Act (DEA) programs. BIL also provides funding to the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for federally regulated broadband programs, as described below.

BIL grant programs are not intended for domestic or individual applicants. Instead, states will lead efforts to plan and create grants to provide money to Internet service providers to build and provide service to homes and businesses. Families who need help accessing the Internet should visit the Broadband Consumer Resource page. .

Wisconsin-Administered Funding Opportunities

Internet for All: Connecting Wisconsin Kick-Off Event

On October 25, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) hosted a meeting. Internet for All: Connecting the Wisconsin Kickoff event in Wausau, WI. The event was developed in partnership between PSC and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Office of Rural Development, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension, and the Board of Education Communications.

This day-long event brought together key stakeholders in Wisconsin from state and local governments, tribal communities, federal agencies, and industry to discuss the use of high-speed Internet infrastructure and digital equity efforts as the state prepares to implement plans from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Initiative. The legislation also launched the online campaign for Wisconsin for All under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. Connecting everyone in Wisconsin to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service is critical to the overall success of the state, ensuring the health and well-being of residents and a strong state economy. This event gave us an opportunity to discuss ways we can work together to effectively use these dollars to achieve the highest level of high-speed Internet deployment and adoption.

Event Agenda

Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Plan

It is limited

$700 million to $1.2 billion

Broadband

infrastructure deployment in areas without 25/3 Mbps



  • Most important: unserved homes and businesses lack 25/3 Mbps.
  • Next in line: neglected households and businesses lacking 100/20 Mbps.
  • Also suitable: public institutions without 1 Gbps, as well as other digital equity and adoption activities.

.The Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) program will provide approximately $42.5 billion nationwide in funding to build broadband infrastructure. BEAD will support the deployment of fiber internet technology that primarily provides 100/20 Mbps service to all homes and residences in Wisconsin that do not have access to 25/3 Mbps service.

Wisconsin’s share will be determined by a formula based on the state’s share of areas without access to broadband service, calculated using the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) pending maps. However, based on currently available data, Wisconsin can expect an allocation of perhaps $700 million to $1.2 billion under BEAD.

Limited Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Plan Timeline




2022: September. Planning Begins. The WBO begins developing a five-year plan and grant program.
2023: June – September. Editing Completed. State Action Plan and Grants Program Proposal completed. September – December. First Round of Grant Applications Open. 20% of the government grant is available.
2024: Four Year Implementation. Additional Grant Cycles. 80% of the government grant money is left.

Beginning in the fall of 2022, the Wisconsin Broadband Office (WBO) will develop a comprehensive five-year plan for the state’s broadband implementation in consultation with local governments, providers, and community partners. In the fall of 2023, WBO will begin awarding Wisconsin BEAD funding to Internet service providers and other eligible organizations through a series of competitive funding rounds that will continue through 2028.

For more information, visit the NTIA website for the BEAD program.

Digital Equity Act programs

.

State Planning System:

$950,000

Energy Grant Program:

$24 to $30 million in 5 years



Broadband adoption efforts for targeted communities
  • Villagers
  • They are different in color
  • Elderly people
  • People with disabilities
  • English language learners
  • Veterans
  • People who are incarcerated

The Digital Equality Act (DEA) consists of three different planning and implementation programs that promote digital equality. Digital equity is a state where all citizens have the skills, devices, and broadband service needed to participate fully in Wisconsin’s economy and society.

Funding will be distributed through three programs:

  1. I
    State Planning System provides funding to states based on a formula for the development of the government’s digital equity program. Wisconsin’s estimated share of planning funds is about $950,000.
  2. I
    Energy Grant Program provides funding to states through a formula to support digital equity projects and implement a digital equity program for each state. Wisconsin’s estimated share of the funding is about $24 million to $30 million over five years.
  3. I
    Competitive Grants Program, administered by NTIA, will support digital projects across the country over a five-year period. Timeline of Digital Equality Act Initiatives.

Timeline of Digital Equality Act Initiatives




2022: August. Country Planning. Development of the State Digital Equity program begins.
2023: To fall. Country Planning. The State Digital Equity Plan has been completed.
2024: January – June. Competitive Grants Program. Applications and awards for five-year federal projects. After the state position awards – the application is open.
2025: January. Competitive Grant Programs. Awards for four-year competitive projects.

Other Broadband Funding Opportunities

The following broadband plans funded under BIL will be managed by government agencies.

It enables the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Plan

The Middle Mile Infrastructure Program is a new $1 billion program funded by the NTIA to expand middle mile Internet infrastructure across the country. Middle mile refers to high-capacity fiber Internet lines that carry data between local networks connecting homes (“last mile”) and larger national networks (“backbone”).


Applications for middle mile funding are now closed. Grants will be awarded in the spring of 2023 and the program will continue until 2028.

For more information, visit the NTIA website for the intermediate mileage program.

Reconnect Loan and Grant Program

The Reconnect Loan and Grant Program is an existing USDA-administered program that funds construction, equipment, and facilities to expand high-speed Internet access in rural areas. BIL has allocated an additional $2 billion for the project. For more information on the continued use of Reconnect, visit the USDA’s ReConnect website.

Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is an existing program of tribal governments that supports broadband deployment, telehealth, distance learning, broadband accessibility, and digital inclusion. BIL has allocated an additional $2 billion for the project. For more information on the continued use of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity program, visit NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity website.

An Inexpensive Communication System

The Affordable Connectivity Program helps low-income families pay for Internet service by providing a monthly subsidy. Eligible families can receive up to $30 per month, and households in eligible Tribal areas can receive $75 per month.
Eligible families can apply now. For more information and to apply visit the PSC Affordable Connectivity Program.




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