Nevada the First State Awarded Digital Equity State Capacity Grant Money

Nevada is the first state to receive Digital Equity State Capacity Grant funds.

Nevada the First State Awarded Digital Equity State Capacity Grant Money
Photo of Nevada State Capitol

June 26, 2024 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration granted the first Digital Equity State Capacity Grant award to Nevada, issuing $9.2 million for the state to implement its Digital Equity Plan.

All state Digital Equity Plans were approved in April. Approval meant that states could go forward with applications for funding to execute their plan to address barriers to broadband adoption like affordability and digital literacy. 

The award is issued under the $1.4 billion State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program, one of three Digital Equity Act grant programs. The agency made $811 million of that funding available in March through the first tranche of its Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program.

The NTIA has tentatively earmarked some of that money for each state based on its population size and the relative lack of broadband adoption. Like in the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, Texas seems set to take home the most with more than $55 million set aside.

The money comes from the $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act, a subset of the 2021 Infrastructure Law aimed at addressing barriers to broadband adoption that will persist even after network infrastructure is expanded through the larger BEAD program.

On Monday, the NTIA announced that it broke ground in Reno, Nevada for a $24 million high-speed internet project from the Enabling Middle Mile Program. This program, another branch of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, invests more than $980 million in building regional middle mile networks. 

“Internet access is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity,” NTIA Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson said. “Today’s groundbreaking means the people of Nevada are one step closer to more affordable, more reliable high-speed Internet service. This Middle Mile project will increase speeds for existing customers and lower the cost of deployment to unconnected homes.”  

With this grant, ISP Zayo will build a 645-mile fiber network through communities in Nevada as well as rural parts of Oregon and northern California that have inadequate broadband service. Zayo will build 23 access points in this network to enable ready access to local Internet Service Providers, which will vastly improve the speed and quality of Internet service to homes in the area. 

Through the Biden Administration’s Internet for All initiative, Nevada will receive more than $539 million to build and expand high-speed Internet infrastructure.

Another $1.25 billion in digital equity funding will be available later this year in the agency’s Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program, in which other entities can apply directly for funding to support their own digital equity projects.

The NTIA will soon announce the launch of the notice of funding for the Competitive Grant Program. The Agency suggested that applicants take steps to get ready for the application process to open. 

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