WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today praised a massive $1.2 billion award to build broadband infrastructure in the state of Mississippi.
The award announced today is part of a $42.45 billion investment nationwide by the Department of Commerce for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which was established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and is also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The funds can be utilized for broadband deployment, mapping, and adoption projects.
“This massive investment in Mississippi’s internet infrastructure will be transformational for our state and help many Mississippians access the high-speed internet they deserve. Investments like these are the exact reason I fought so hard to ensure the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law focused on the hard infrastructure that helps our economy grow. I am thrilled at this announcement, and I will continue working with our leadership to ensure that every dollar is put to work connecting all corners of the state,” Wicker said.
Wicker was a key negotiator of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and also worked for years as the lead Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to ensure Mississippi’s lack of broadband coverage was accurately reflected in national coverage maps that are being used to distribute federal funding for broadband.
Earlier versions of broadband maps released by the federal government showed that much of Mississippi had access to internet, despite the fact that many addresses that were shown as “covered” had no options for service.
Wicker fought to pass legislation that would require the FCC to update the maps with better data. The legislation was signed into law in 2020.
These new maps are now the basis for broadband grant allocations, including the major new investments announced today as part of the BEAD Program.
The BEAD Program is a federal grant program that aims to get all Americans online by funding partnerships between states or territories, communities, and stakeholders to build infrastructure and increase adoption of high-speed internet.
BEAD prioritizes unserved locations that have no internet access or that only have access under 25/3 Mbps and underserved locations that only have access under 100/20 Mbps.
In Mississippi, the BEAD Program will be administered by the state Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi office.