Nevada lawmakers approve $360 million in federal funds for broadband

The funds will be split between the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the Eastern Nevada Middle Mile Fiber Network, which are both part of the High Speed Nevada Initiative, an effort to establish statewide universal access to modern broadband infrastructure. (Photo via Shutterstock)

By Isabel Soisson

August 11, 2023

Nevada lawmakers on Wednesday approved the use of $360 million in funding from President Biden’s Infrastructure law to advance two projects aimed at expanding high-speed internet across the state.

The funds will be split between the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the Eastern Nevada Middle Mile Fiber Network, which are both part of the High Speed Nevada Initiative, an effort to establish statewide universal access to modern broadband infrastructure.

Of the $42 billion BEAD program, Nevada has $416 million available to expand broadband access. The state’s available funding was increased from the minimum allocation of $100 million earlier this year, in part due to efforts from Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen, who urged federal regulators to update the national broadband map to more accurately reflect unserved locations throughout Nevada.

At Wednesday’s meeting, lawmakers approved how that extra $316 million will be used to close gaps of broadband access, mainly in rural parts of the state.

The rest of the money approved Wednesday–$43.5 million–will go towards the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology (OSIT), which also supported efforts to expand the national broadband map.

That funding came from provisions that originated in Rosen’s Middle Mile Broadband Deployment Act, which was included in the final version of Biden’s Infrastructure Law.

OSIT will use that funding to build a 431-mile fiber optic network running along US Route 93. It will run from Las Vegas, go north through Elko County, and end in the city of Wells.

The project is expected to “greatly enhance the capacity of last-mile networks to deliver affordable, high-speed Internet access to over 21,000 locations that are unserved or underserved today,” according to materials submitted to lawmakers by OSIT.

Brian Mitchell, director of OSIT, told lawmakers that the project is expected to be completed within the next 24- to 36 months.

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.

CATEGORIES: INFRASTRUCTURE | POLITICS

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