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Louisiana gets $176 million in federal money to boost access to affordable internet

3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago Tuesday, June 07 2022 Jun 7, 2022 June 07, 2022 11:55 AM June 07, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana will receive $176.7 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury to help provide easier access to affordable, high-speed internet.

The project is among the first funded through the American Rescue Plan, which was crafted to help the country bounce back from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan is provide reliable internet with a speed of 100 megabits per second, allowing multiple people to access the internet simultaneously in one household. 

Louisiana's specific plan will provide internet to nearly 88,500 homes and businesses that lack proper access to the internet through the Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO). 

State officials estimate that the funding will close the digital divide of around 25% of locations without access to high-speed internet across the state. The program aims to help people with bad service, specifically those in poor or rural areas, to access the internet. 

"We are grateful to be recognized and given approval by the Deputy Secretary of Treasury Wally Adeyemo as one of the first four states to have our State Broadband Grant Program (GUMBO) plan formally approved," Gov. John Bel Edwards said. "The digital divide presents a great challenge to the people of Louisiana, but it’s a challenge that we will overcome. Today’s announcement is a testament to the pace at which our State Office of Broadband (ConnectLa) is working to develop first rate polices and plans to ensure everyone in Louisiana has access to affordable, high-speed internet."

Each state's plans require service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission's new Affordable Connectivity Program. The ACP gives as much as a $30 discount to households to ensure that people can afford the broadband needed for work, school, healthcare and other necessities.

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