$652 million to Minnesota, $415 million to Iowa for high-speed internet

(ABC 6 News) – The Biden-Harris administration announced Minnesota will receive about $652 million to fund affordable, high-speed internet service.

This funding is a part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, which includes key legislation drafted by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and House Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina.

“This is literally a game-changer,” Klobuchar said.

This funding will go directly to states to expand broadband access, starting with the areas of the country that are most in need.

Over 135,000 homes and small businesses in Minnesota lack a reliable internet connection. According to Klobuchar, the funding will ensure all communities can participate in the modern digital economy.

“If you want a state where everyone can communicate, and you want to have farmers be able to reach their customers and you want to build small businesses in the surrounding Rochester area, they’ve got to have high speed,” Klobuchar said.

Iowa is also receiving about $415 million in funding to expand broadband to unserved areas.

The funding is a part of Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative. The president and his staff announced Monday how much of the $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program each state, the District of Columbia and five territories would receive.

“As part of President Biden’s commitment to ‘Investing in America,’ today’s historic funding will help Minnesota close the digital divide and connect rural communities that have been left behind for far too long,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

U.S. states, D.C., and territories will use funding from the BEAD program from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to administer grant programs within their borders.  

The funds will also be used to help states enforce distracted driving laws, help the Department of Transportation clamp down on human trafficking and create a grant program for non-profits to improve their energy efficiency.