$1.4M awarded to NMI in ‘Internet for All’ planning grants 

Posted on May 19 2023


WASHINGTON—The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced that the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands received planning grants for deploying high-speed Internet service networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative.

The CNMI is receiving $1.4 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Joe Biden, to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the territory.

“As part of President Biden’s investing in America agenda, these planning grants will help bring affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “Residents across the 14 islands will benefit from the educational, economic, and healthcare opportunities of expanded Internet access. I thank Gov. [Arnold I.] Palacios for his commitment to closing the digital divide.”

All 50 U.S. states and six territories applied for planning grant funding for the Internet for All initiative’s Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment program and the Digital Equity Act program. To date, NTIA has awarded more than $308 million in planning grants to states and territories.

About Northern Mariana Islands’ Planning Grants 

Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program 

The BEAD Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.

Northern Mariana Islands will receive $1.25 million to fund various activities, including:

  • Increasing capacity of a broadband office that oversees broadband programs and broadband deployment in the CNMI;
  • Creation of “OPD Broadband,” which will develop a Sustainable Development Plan that will also serve as the Five-Year Action Plan for CNMI;
  • Research and data collection to identify unserved and underserved locations as well as catalogue broadband adoption, affordability, equity, and access to better understand barriers to adoption;
  • Publications, outreach, and communications support;
  • Coordination with local communities in order to better understand barriers to adoption.

Digital Equity 

The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The first part of NTIA’s execution of the Digital Equity Act is to fund digital equity planning efforts.

Northern Mariana Islands will receive $150,000 to fund various activities to support closing the digital equity gap, including:

  • Developing a robust Territory Digital Equity Plan that will benefit principally unserved and underserved populations in CNMI;
  • Data collection, plan development, and plan rollout.

Internet for All 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S. In 2022, NTIA launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Visit Getinternet.gov to learn more.

For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, visit InternetforAll.gov. (PR)

Press Release
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