On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, comprised of a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending package to fund the U.S. government in Fiscal Year 2021 and a $900 billion coronavirus relief package. The Act includes $7 billion in appropriations to fund broadband initiatives.
These initiatives include:
- $3.2 billion for an emergency broadband benefit program to help low-income households connect, or remain connected, to broadband service.
- $1.9 billion to fund the removal and replacement of communications equipment designated as unsecure from U.S. communications networks.
- $1 billion for a dedicated Tribal broadband connectivity grant program.
- $300 million to fund a broadband grant program to facilitate broadband infrastructure deployment in unserved areas.
- $285 million to fund a newly created Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to support historically black colleges and universities, Tribal colleges and universities and minority-serving education institutions for purposes of expanding broadband availability at the schools and in the surrounding community.
- $250 in new funding for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
- $65 million to fund the FCC's development of more accurate broadband availability maps.
A more detailed summary of the broadband funding and other broadband-related provisions of the Act is available here.
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