State officials say Delaware is on its way to having broadband available to all households.
Governor John Carney joined state leaders and representatives of Comcast, Verizon, Mediacom, and the Communication Workers of America to mark the expansion to 6,000 homes.
Carney assigned $33 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for broadband expansion. Under the program, the above broad companies expand their systems beyond their original footprint to outlying areas.
“Our goal is to have Delaware be the first state in the country to connect every home and business to high-speed internet within the next few years. If there is any state that can connect every home and business, it ought to be Delaware,” said Carney. “Every family deserves high-quality internet for school, work, and entertainment. I want to thank the members of the federal delegation and the Biden Administration providing this funding. It’s really making a difference for Delawareans.”
Broadband access became a major issue during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, with some families forced to go outside to pick up a weak signal. Broadband access has been an issue for some businesses for years, especially in portions of Sussex County.
The state and Sussex County earlier allocated funds needed to bring broadband to businesses and government units in the county.
During the last 12 months, the State of Delaware and Comcast, Medicom, and Verizon have made high-speed internet available for the first time to 5,859 homes and businesses, mainly in rural areas.
Three hundred seventy-two locations are remaining to be installed with ARPA funding. Those locations will be reached over the next few months. Once those residences are completed, the State of Delaware will have spent $33 million in ARPA funding on broadband connection.
The Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) led this project for the State. DTI contracted providers already serving Delawareans with the internet and found efficient ways for those providers to extend their existing networks using ARPA funding.
“Reliable and affordable high-speed internet is essential, and this investment of ARPA funding means that more than 6,000 additional Delaware homes and businesses will have the access they need,” said Greg Lane, CIO of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information. “We know our work is far from over. Additional federal funding from the BEAD and Digital Equity Programs will support the connection of an estimated remaining Delaware 8,600 addresses, as well as help us ensure that everyone can take advantage of digital technologies that are accessible and affordable.”
DTI is now planning to use Delaware’s funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to connect all Delaware homes and businesses, along with additional federal funding administered by the FCC. To learn more about broadband expansion in Delaware, visit https://broadband.delaware.gov