BURLINGTON, VT—Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced Vermont will receive nearly $230 million to deploy broadband throughout the state as part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which is a program of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) helped pass the IIJA, also known as the bipartisan infrastructure law, as a Member of the House of Representatives. Senator Welch released the following statement celebrating the announcement:
“We have a real opportunity to transform rural America, in large part thanks to the Biden Administration’s commitment to rural broadband. This essential service—which is key to running a successful small business, connecting with family, and getting medical care in small towns—is also key to revitalizing our rural communities. Just as we saw when electricity was deployed a generation ago, rural America cannot be left behind in the next transformation—the digital transformation—and this funding will ensure that isn’t the case,” said Sen. Welch.
“It was an honor to champion this critical program in the bipartisan infrastructure law last Congress, and it’s a great joy to see these resources—nearly $230 million—now come home to Vermont. I will continue to fight for the expeditious build out of broadband here in Vermont and across America to get folks in rural communities connected,” he continued.
Welch has been a longtime champion of rural broadband. As a member of the House of Representatives, he founded the Rural Broadband Caucus. In the Senate, Senator Welch serves on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, and Chairs of the Rural Development and Energy Subcommittee. His first hearing as Chair focused on the need to expand access to broadband in rural communities, where he was joined by Vermonters working on-the-ground to expand broadband access in the state.
Senator Welch also is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the implementation of BEAD funding. In this role, he has pressed Administration officials on improving the accuracy of federal broadband maps and the timely release of federal broadband funding to ensure rural communities throughout Vermont can be connected to the modern, digital economy.
In total, the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide over $42 billion in broadband planning, deployment and adoption programs across America.