Internet access in RI is being enhanced with US$100 million in federal funding

NEWPORT How difficult is it to represent the Biden administration in Kentucky’s rural and red boroughs? It’s actually not that bad, said US Commerce Secretary and former Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, at least when you’re there to dole out more than a billion dollars in federal funding for broadband Internet.

Raimondo participates in a national tour promoting the federal government’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, which will provide more than $42 billion in funding for underserved and underserved areas of the United States to renew their bandwidth infrastructure wide.

At the Newport Housing Authority’s Donovan Manor on Friday, Raimondo said he saved the best for last as he finished his national tour in his home state, navigating that federal funding surge on a beautiful summer day in Newport to discuss how they will draw benefit the Rhode Islanders $108.7 million in BEAD funding.

Newport Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong, RI Governor Dan McKee and United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse watch United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo remarks on federal BEAD funding for the Internet at DOnovan Manor in Newport, RI June 30 2023.

Federal funding will be distributed through RI Commerce, using a points-based nomination rubric with priority given to underserved or underserved areas as identified by FCC maps, to nonprofit organizations, public-private partnerships, private corporations, public service providers, and local governments to make sure every Rhode Islander has access to reliable and affordable high-speed Internet.

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