NTIA Awards $50 Million to Expand Regional and National Internet Networks

WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced nearly $50 million to four organizations to expand middle mile high-speed internet infrastructure in New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming.

The announcement is a critical milestone in Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to ensure that everyone in America has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. Under the Internet for All Initiative, the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program invests in projects that build regional networks that connect to national internet networks.

Middle mile internet infrastructure carries large amounts of data over long distances, increases capacity to local networks, boosts network resiliency, lowers the cost of bringing high-speed internet service to unconnected households, and helps connect unserved regions to the internet backbone.

With these grants, all funding for grant awards from the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program has been awarded to 36 organizations across 40 states and territories. No additional awards will be announced.

“Building robust middle mile networks is a vital step to ensuring every community has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet service,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This investment in internet infrastructure, made possible by President Biden and his Investing in America agenda, will help close the digital divide and deliver the benefits and tools of our interconnected society to all of America.”

Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the $1 billion middle mile program funds construction, improvement, or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure, along with administrative costs associated with running the program. Middle mile projects do not directly connect end-user locations.

“Middle mile networks are the interstate highways of the internet, carrying large amounts of data at high speeds to connect entire communities,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communication and Information Alan Davidson. “These final awards complete the Biden Administration’s nearly $1 billion investment in regional internet networks that will help us bring affordable, reliable high-speed internet connection to everyone in America.”

New Middle Mile Grants

  • The middle mile projects will cover 27 counties across 4 states.
  • The projects will deploy 518.5 miles of new fiber that will pass within 1,000 feet of 164 community anchor institutions.
  • All projects use future-proof fiber as the primary technology.
  • Awardees are investing an additional $23 million of outside match funding into the projects.

Background on the Enabling Middle Mile Grant Program

  • More than 260 applications were submitted totaling $7.47 billion in funding requests.
  • Applications for the Middle Mile program were due by September 30, 2022. NTIA extended the application deadline to Nov. 1, 2022, for eligible entities that submitted applications for projects that would deploy in areas impacted by natural disasters.
  • To raise awareness of the program and guide prospective applicants, NTIA performed extensive outreach, including hosting 12 public office hour sessions, conducting four public webinars for prospective applicants, and participating in six industry-led conferences to discuss the Middle Mile program.
  • Eligible awardees for the program included states, Tribal governments, utility companies, telecommunication companies, and nonprofit entities. For a full list of eligible entities visit InternetForAll.Gov.


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