Idaho’s $120M Boost for Statewide Broadband Connectivity

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The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board (IBAB) has approved the allocation of $120 million from the Idaho Capital Projects Fund to support 18 broadband initiatives, providing a significant boost to over 30,000 homes and businesses across the state. In collaboration with the state government, the advisory board strategically targeted projects to enhance crucial areas including distance learning, telehealth, telework, economic development, and public safety.

Latah County’s Dark Fiber Network secured a substantial grant of $15 million, while Madison County received approximately $13.6 million, emerging as the leading beneficiaries of the grant round. Idaho County, Jerome County, Ziply Fiber, Comcast, Whitecloud Communications, Fybercom, Intermax Networks, MiFiber, Kaniksu, Custer Telephone Cooperative, and Whitecloud Communications were among the other notable awardees.

The grants, according to Idaho Broadband Program Manager Ramón Hobdey-Sánchez, mark the successful outcome of months of collaboration with stakeholders, local communities, and internet providers throughout the state.

The federal Capital Projects Fund (CPF), providing $10 billion for critical capital projects, aligns with the CPF criteria, aiming to enhance internet connectivity in unserved and underserved locations. The Link Up initiative, in coordination with the Idaho Department of Commerce and Idaho Office of Information Technology Services, addresses connectivity challenges in Idaho communities, informing residents about broadband availability and distributing grants to improve access.

Additionally, the advisory board is actively contributing to the formation of the state’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) plans. With over $583 million allocated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under the BEAD program, Idaho is progressing through the BEAD proposal process, having completed four out of eight phases. The NTIA’s tracker showcases the state’s advancement in meeting major milestones, offering transparency to the public and ensuring a comprehensive broadband infrastructure expansion by the December 27, 2023 due date.

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