OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Broadband Office (OBO) announced on Monday it has been allocated an additional $167.7 million in federal grant funds for high-speed internet expansion throughout the state.
The OBO has received official notification by the U.S. Department of Treasury of the allocation through the American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF). According to Executive Director Mike Sanders, the funding will be used to further expand reliable and affordable high-speed internet service throughout the state.
“We will invest these funds in areas of the state where broadband infrastructure expansion has historically been cost prohibitive due to low population density and geographic constraints,” Sanders said. “In other words, rural Oklahoma will be the biggest beneficiary.”
CPF will fund a competitive grant program designed to reduce the financial barriers for internet service providers (ISPs) to build out high-speed internet service.
ISPs that seek subgrants to conduct the expansion work will be required to participate in the Federal Communication Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which helps ensure low-income households can afford high-speed internet.
ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month, or up to $75 per eligible household on Tribal lands, which is approximately two-thirds of Oklahoma. Current data show more than 728,000 Oklahomans currently lack access to reliable high-speed internet service with the majority living in rural areas of the state.
CPF is the third federal infrastructure grant program approved for administration through the OBO. The others are the ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, at $382 million, and BEAD, the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment fund, at $797.4 million.