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Which States Received the Most Broadband Funding from BEAD?

Following challenges to the federal government’s broadband data from local governments and residents, the White House has released each state’s funding amount for broadband projects. Alaska received the most per capita.

broadband tower at sunset
States, the District of Columbia and territories now know how much funding they’ll receive from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of President Joe Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative. While some state and local government agencies are celebrating their success, others may be wondering why they weren’t given a bigger piece of the pie to deploy affordable, reliable high-speed Internet to their constituents.

A total of $42.45 billion in funding has been allocated to deploy or upgrade broadband networks as part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. The White House is presenting the initiative as a wide-reaching solution for those who don’t currently have Internet access.

“What this announcement means for people across the country is that if you don’t have access to quality, affordable high-speed Internet service now — you will, thanks to President Biden and his commitment to investing in America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in a statement. “Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber-optic cable in America, or creating good paying jobs building Internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come.”


The allocations came as part of NTIA’s algorithm that considered the number of unserved areas and high-cost unserved areas, with a baseline of $100 million for each state and $25 million for each territory.

NTIA defined unserved locations as those with no access to broadband or a speed of less than 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.

However, the data used to determine unserved areas hinged in part on whether residents and local government agencies fact-checked the accuracy of the data used for this algorithm, the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Map.

The FCC admitted in 2022 that older broadband maps relied on collected data at the census block level, resulting in maps that were “overly optimistic” because they lacked location-specific information, glossing over gaps in coverage. To fix the problem, they created new maps that integrated information from broadband providers with location-specific data sources.

Additionally, for the first time, consumers and stakeholders could challenge inaccuracies and provide feedback if the information on the map did not match their experience.

The FCC ended up adding more than a million new locations to the first draft of the map after receiving more than four million broadband availability challenges. According to the National Association of Counties, a “sizable” portion of the challenges were submitted by county governments.


Alaska received the most BEAD funding per capita: $1.02 billion total, a number that works out to be $1,387 per resident according to the 2022 U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. A spokesperson for GCI, an Alaska Internet provider, told Alaska’s News Source that it can cost $70,000 to $100,000 per mile to build fiber-optic Internet network in rural Alaska.

West Virginia received the second highest per capita funding, with an allocation of $1.2 billion, about $682 per resident. According to Internet for All, 14 percent of households in the state have no Internet access or access to an Internet device.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin credited the state’s funding success to challenges made to the FCC map, reporting that more than 86,000 new unserved locations were updated to the map after more than 2,400 speed tests were submitted to the FCC to challenge the accuracy of the data.

“The maps now show what we knew all along — that West Virginia is one of the least-served states in the country,” Manchin said in a statement. “As a direct result of my efforts to correct the FCC maps and ensure the funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is distributed according to these maps, West Virginia will finally receive our fair share of resources to build out the reliable service we need. ”

Meanwhile, per capita BEAD funding in some other areas is significantly lower. Massachusetts received a grant of about $147 million, $21 per resident. Internet for All’s population metrics reported that 8 percent of houses in the state have no Internet access or access to an Internet device.

Massachusetts leaders celebrated the allocation as a continuance of the work that’s already been done to connect residents in the state.

“Prior federal investments from NTIA led to the buildout of core infrastructure that provided the foundation for our projects that connected thousands of Massachusetts residents and small businesses who were previously cut off from broadband access,” said Michael Baldino, director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech. “Through BEAD, we see the opportunity to launch new broadband programs that will positively impact the lives of residents across the state for years to come.”


The BEAD money is meant to meet deployment goals, which prioritize unserved and underserved locations that do not have at least 100/20 Mbps service. After that, any remaining funding can be used to pursue eligible access, adoption and equity-related uses.

Grant recipients received their formal notice of allocation June 30 and have 180 days to submit initial proposals describing how they intend to run their grant programs. Entities can start submitting proposals on July 1, and once approved by NTIA, they can request access to at least 20 percent of their funding.


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Nikki Davidson is a data reporter for Government Technology. She’s covered government and technology news as a video, newspaper, magazine and digital journalist for media outlets across the country. She’s based in Monterey, Calif.