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States get $42 billion to expand high-speed internet to underserved communities

States are now off to the races to spend $42 billion dollars in federal infrastructure funding to expand high-speed internet access.

The Biden Administration announced yesterday how much individual states will get — ranging from the hundreds of millions into the billions — to reduce ‘digital divides’ and extend affordable broadband to their most disconnected rural and urban communities.

Nearly a quarter of American households don’t have high-speed internet at home.

Colleen McClain at the Pew Research Center said those least likely to have access are people of color, those with low income and less education, and rural residents.

“Lack of home broadband is a major disadvantage for things like getting schoolwork done, looking for jobs,” she said.

Colorado will get $826 million for its infrastructure build-out.

State Broadband Office director Brandy Reitter said that’ll be enough to get high-speed internet to nearly 200,000 Colorado households, including rural folks on farms and ranches.

“They’re running broadband over old DSL copper-cable phone lines,” she said.

Reitter said poor city neighborhoods lack infrastructure, too.

“These are folks that live in our urban areas on the wrong side of the street as far as broadband connectivity is concerned,” she said.

Colorado will also try to narrow the digital divide by making internet service more affordable, and expanding access in libraries and community centers.

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