Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program Announcement

Jun 27, 2023

Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program Announcement
Tue, 06/27/2023 – 09:27

Investing in communities and workers


Monday, June 26, 2023

Office of Public Affairs

Gina M. Raimondo

Thank you. It’s great to be at the White House to celebrate such an important milestone.

More than two years ago, as President Biden took office, we were emerging from a pandemic that forced so much of our lives to move online.

While many Americans could work from home, expand their business online, or have a virtual doctor’s appointment, there were millions who couldn’t connect just because of where they lived or how much it cost.

President Biden said this was unacceptable – that internet access can no longer be considered a luxury; it’s a necessity.

At his State of the Union, President Biden made a promise to provide high-speed Internet for every American.

And he’s delivering. He reached across the aisle and united the country behind this goal.

Thanks to his leadership, we’ve made tremendous progress already. We’ve invested billions of dollars to expand and improve our networks, connect HBCUs, and make service more affordable for low-income Americans. We’ve invested nearly $2 billion to connect tribal lands and transform the way their communities work, learn, and access health care.

Today, we’re celebrating the biggest investment in broadband to help us finish the job and finally close the digital divide in our country once and for all.

Every state and territory is participating – and industry, advocates, civil society, colleges and universities, labor unions, and others have joined this whole-of-country effort so no one will be left behind.

We’re proud to be leading the charge at the Commerce Department.

Each state will have a minimum of $100 million at their disposal to finish the job and finally close the digital divide. The average amount going to each state is almost $750 million.

We now know there are about 8.5 million locations in America that lack access to quality service. Each of those locations represents a farm that can’t use modern tools, a small business stuck in an analog era, a family cut off from telehealth care, or a student missing the opportunities that our digital world can bring.

Like a local farmer, I met in Hickory, N.C., who was trying to utilize the internet to help digitize his business and sell his goods online – but whose internet went out every time there was bad weather.

Or a local Boy Scout who served as the web developer for his troop but had to work on his troop’s website in the backseat of his parent’s car in the parking lot of the local library because his home – and all of the homes on his street – were unconnected.

Or the tribal families I met in Arizona whose children couldn’t attend school virtually during the pandemic – they had no connection with their teachers or with each other and had to rely on weekly packets dropped off by the school bus.

That’s who stands to benefit from this effort. And that’s who President Biden and his entire Administration are fighting for every day.

Throughout our history, there have been moments when our country came together to achieve great things, to change lives with a commitment to leaving no one behind.

Just like the Rural Electrification Act a century ago and the Interstate Highway System that followed it, this is our generation’s opportunity for a transformational infrastructure investment.

The digital divide is not a new problem – we’ve known about it for decades. Many presidents have tried to bridge the gap and expand infrastructure to every corner of this country.

But President Biden is making it a reality.

I’m proud to stand alongside a President who keeps his promises and delivers for the American people. We’re proving that there’s no limit to what we can do when we work together.

So let’s get to work. Thank you.

Bureaus and Offices

National Telecommunications and Information Administration



Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Commerce: Read More