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Guam gets $156M in federal grant to expand access to high-speed internet


Photo by Phillip Katzenberger/Wix

By Pacific Island Times News Staff


Guam will receive $156 million in funding from the federal broadband deployment program aimed at expanding America’s access to reliable high-speed internet.


The grant awarded to Guam comes from the Biden administration's $42.45 billion program called Broadband Equity Access Deployment, or BEAD, which was created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by the Department of Commerce.


“With these allocations and other Biden administration investments, all 50 states, D.C. and the territories now have the resources to connect every resident and small business to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by 2030,” the White House announced Tuesday.


Officials said the BEAD program was “the largest internet funding announcement in history.”


“This once-in-a-generation funding is a game changer for Guam. We long recognized the need for improved broadband infrastructure on the island, and this funding will allow us to make significant progress in bridging the digital divide and providing equal access to opportunities for our residents,” Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.


She said the BEAD funding will be used to expand broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of Guam. "The initiative will also address affordability, increased access, and help grow jobs and a stronger workforce," the governor added.


According to the governor’s office, the BEAD grant will be managed by the Office of Infrastructure Policy and Development, which was established last year through an executive order. The office is charged with overseeing the implementation of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal broadband investments over the next five years.


On May 18, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced that Guam received $1.4 million in planning grants for deploying high-speed Internet service networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden administration’s “Internet for All” initiative.


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The governor's office said prior to Tuesday's unveiling of BEAD allocations, Guam initially anticipated receiving only $25 million from the program,


“This increase in funding represents more than a year of work in making a strong case with the Commerce Department to secure as much broadband funding for Guam as possible,” said Tyrone J. Taitano, who heads the

infrastructure office. “This enormous investment in broadband infrastructure will not only help bridge the digital divide, it will help diversify our economy and create new business and job opportunities for our community.”


Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio said the recent devastation of typhoon Mawar and the Covid-19 pandemic underscored the importance of having reliable high-speed internet for remote work, telehealth and distance learning.


“We spoke to many of our stakeholders, including mayors and other members of the community,” he said. “This ongoing stakeholder communication will help direct our path moving forward, ensuring this funding improves the quality of life for our residents, and expands the growth of businesses and industries on our island.”


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