This week, Senator Baldwin announced that Wisconsin is receiving $1.05 billion in federal funds through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program to connect more Wisconsinites to high-speed internet. Funding comes after Senator Baldwin successfully pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to release an updated National Broadband Map that provided a more reliable and accurate depiction of broadband availability across Wisconsin. The BEAD program was established by the Baldwin-supported Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand high-speed internet access to areas currently unserved or underserved by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs.
The funding allocation relies on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Map to determine areas of need and investment. After hearing from Wisconsin community members and stakeholders of inaccurate data in the FCC’s original National Broadband Map, Senator Baldwin successfully “badgered the FCC” – after repeated calls – to correct the map’s broadband availability information to ensure Wisconsin gets its fair share of federal broadband funding in the future.
Under the program, Wisconsin will receive $1,055,823,573.71. The funding will be awarded to the state in two stages. First, 20% of the state’s allocation will be awarded with initial competitive sub grants expected in the summer of 2024. In 2025, the remaining 80% of the state’s allocation is expected to be awarded and the state will be principally responsible for administering awarded funds, with priority going to projects that bring broadband to unserved households and businesses lacking access to high-speed internet.