Grant approved to increase high-speed internet access

The Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) was approved for $151.4 million through the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF).  BEAM was established and signed into law by Gov. Tate Reeves in 2022 to administer all state and federal broadband initiatives.

The CPF grant is expected to provide high-speed internet service to approximately 35,000 unserved households in Mississippi. Nationwide, CPF provides a total of $10 billion to states, territories, and Tribal governments to fund broadband expansion to enable education, work, and telehealth opportunities.

“We’re expanding broadband to every corner of our state,” said Gov. Reeves. “Mississippi is attracting the jobs of tomorrow by improving our state’s connectivity today. We’ll continue working hard to ensure that every Mississippian has access to broadband, regardless of their zip code.”  

BEAM will open a competitive grant program for internet service providers as follows:

Category 1 – Broadband Infrastructure ($116.4 million): Awards in this category will help fund large-scale projects designed to serve large numbers of targeted addresses. Recipients of Category 1 awards must provide matching funds of at least 20%.

Category 2 – Line Extension & Deployment ($20 million): Line Extension & Deployment grants will be used to help fund extensions of existing networks that can be constructed quickly and offer at least 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload. Recipients in this category will be required to provide a match of at least $500 per address.

Category 3 – ARPA Broadband Communities ($15 million): This category promotes public and private partnership and requires service providers to partner with a county, municipality, or an affiliated organization that dedicates a portion of its ARPA funds or some other public funding to the project. Recipients of awards in this category will be required to match at least 50% of the award amount, only a portion of which need to be from the public entity’s ARPA funds.

BEAM anticipates initial funding determinations for applicants to be made later this year. In compliance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s guidance, all awardees of CPF funds must complete their projects by Dec. 31, 2026.

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob is also heard on 95.3 The Rebel twice a week with sports updates and high school football play-by-play broadcasts in the fall. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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