The First State is looking to become the first state to reach every home and business with high-speed broadband service, the governor announced Thursday.
Gov. John Carney, along with Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, and members of the General Assembly and Department of Technology and Information, said the state will invest $110 million in the wireline internet service.
“Delawareans rely on stable internet connections to apply for jobs, help their children do homework, work from home, or continue their education online,” Carney said in a news release. “This significant investment will recognize that reality, and make sure all Delaware families have access to high-speed broadband service. We know that’s more important than ever after the lessons we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Funding, according to the governor’s office, comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Nearly 11,600 Delaware homes and businesses don’t have access to high-speed, wireline broadband service, the governor’s office said, and “the broadband infrastructure project will target investments to areas currently unserved or underserved.”
Of those unserved by broadband service, 7,350 are located in Sussex County, 3,800 are in Kent County, and 450 are located in New Castle County.
“Access to broadband is infrastructure. Just like when our roads, bridges, and railways are broken we fix them and we need to do the same for our access to broadband and close these gaps,” Hall-Long said in the release. “This critical investment from our federal government is a once in a generation opportunity for us to make a real difference and deliver meaningful investments. I’m excited about the opportunity to really put our state in a position of strength to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
Carper pointed to the pandemic, showing how much broadband internet is relied upon.
“The coronavirus pandemic has shown just how much Americans rely on the Internet for school, running a business, or simply getting health care. Unfortunately, too many people across the First State do not have access to a reliable Internet connection,” Carper said.