OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) says Oklahoma has received $5,882,087.78 in “Internet for All” grants to expand high-speed Internet across the Sooner State and develop digital skills training programs for residents.
Funding is provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the state.
“I appreciate the efforts of our federal partners to work with us to expand high speed internet to every corner of Oklahoma, especially to our rural communities,” said Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. “Expanding broadband infrastructure in our state has been a priority of mine since Day One and is critical to becoming a Top Ten state.”
Oklahoma will receive $5 million from the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program to:
- Develop a comprehensive, informed Five-Year Action Plan identifying Oklahoma’s broadband access, affordability, equity, and adoption needs;
- Research and data collection, including initial identification of unserved locations and underserved locations;
- Develop of a preliminary budget for pre-planning activities.
Oklahoma will also receive $882,087.78 from the Digital Equity Act to fund:
- Staff recruitment and program management assistance;
- Community and stakeholder engagement;
- Data collection and analysis.
“Access to broadband equals access to economic opportunities. High-speed internet is no longer optional in today’s society, but is necessary infrastructure every bit as critical as transportation and utilities. These funds provided by NTIA are vital as we work to bring high-speed internet to 95% of Oklahomans by 2028. Expansion of broadband will ensure a brighter, and more connected, future for our state,” said Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall.
All 50 states and six territories applied for planning grant funding for the Internet for All initiative’s BEAD program and the Digital Equity Act program. All 56 will receive varying grants from the historic $45.2 billion investments.
“Equitable high-speed Internet access is essential for closing the digital divide,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “I commend Governor Stitt for his commitment to connecting all Oklahomans.”
Earlier this month, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma received more than $12.6 million to expand internet access on Tribal Lands.