BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana has joined the “Internet for All” initiative.

The $65 billion initiative, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, aims to provide high-speed internet to all Americans, according to Edwards. The initiative also includes programs building internet infrastructure, teaching digital skills, and providing necessary technology.

According to Gov. Edwards, Internet for All includes a $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, a $1 billion Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, and $.15 billion State Digital Equity Act programs.

“Partnering with Commerce/NTIA will allow Louisiana to achieve what we thought was impossible. We will now have the financial resources necessary to once and for all eliminate the digital divide in Louisiana. We are grateful to both Secretary Raimondo and Assistant Secretary Davidson of NTIA for their leadership and partnership. Over the past several years, our Broadband Office (ConnectLa) has worked hard to align resources between federal, state, and local officials to take full advantage of this historic broadband funding opportunity. We look forward to partnering with the people of Louisiana to make closing the divide a reality,” said Gov. Edwards.

Gov. Edwards says the state has submitted a letter of intent and a planning funds budget for the BEAD program. The BEAD program would provide $5 million in planning funds and the state would be able to start crafting a five-year action plan.

“Generations before us brought electricity to rural America and built the interstate highways,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “Our generation’s task is to connect all Americans online. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, states are joining NTIA in this major new program to promote Internet access and adoption so that everyone in America has a chance to thrive in the modern economy.” 

For more information about Internet for All, click here.