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Delaware Takes $56M Step Toward Universal Broadband

Delaware, a state with a population of just less than a million people, wants to become the first state to connect every home and business. As part of this effort, the state is giving $56 million to three companies.

Delaware is giving $56 million to Comcast, Verizon and Mediacom as part of an initiative to connect every residence and business to high-speed Internet.

The state announced the news late last week in a release. Comcast will receive the lion’s share of the money at $33.1 million. Verizon and Mediacom will receive $11.8 million and $11.1 million, respectively. The funds come from the American Rescue Plan Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The plan is for the three companies to spend the next three years building wired broadband infrastructure to 11,600 homes and businesses. The infrastructure will deliver speeds of 100 Mbps/20 Mbps.

The release suggests the grant awards mark the first stage of “making high-speed wired broadband connections available to every Delaware home.” According to Delaware’s broadband website, 11,600 is the estimated number of homes and businesses in the state that lack high-speed connectivity, and citizens can use the website to report other addresses that don’t have broadband.

Under the state’s broadband program rules, a grant can pay for 75 percent of capital construction costs and requires a 25 percent match from the awardee. Moreover, organizations must have existing infrastructure in Delaware to apply for a grant.

In a statement, Gov. John Carney thanked the Department of Technology and Information for its role in making the universal broadband goal a reality.

“Thanks to our ability to leverage funding made available from Congress and the president and with the support of Gov. Carney, we are excited to execute on the strategy of our stakeholders and our well-positioned vendor community to close the digital divide in Delaware,” said Delaware CIO Jason Clarke.