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Nevada to See $43.5M for Internet Expansion Work

Legislation authored by Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., will see $43.5 million in federal funding sent to the state. The money will fund the Internet expansion to schools, libraries, community centers, and government offices.

Christian Perez, 11, uses a computer at the East Las Vegas Library in August 2021. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
K.M. Cannon/TNS
(TNS) — Nevada will have more Internet access soon, thanks to a bill authored by Sen. Jacky Rosen, D- Nev.

Rosen’s bill, which she called the Middle Mile Broadband Deployment Act, was incorporated into the bipartisan Infrastructure Act that President Joe Biden signed in 2021. It supplies $1 billion nationally — and $43.5 million in Nevada — to connect schools, libraries, community centers, and government offices to high-speed Internet access.

Those facilities can then act as hubs to further distribute high-speed Internet access to homes. According to Rosen’s office, the funding will be used to connect or improve Internet service at 21,000 locations in the state.

Rosen is scheduled to announce the funding at a news conference at 1 p.m. Friday at the East Las Vegas Library, alongside Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans and the White House infrastructure coordinator, Alan Davidson, assistance secretary of commerce for communications and information, Brian Mitchell, director of the Nevada Office of Science, Innovation and Technology and Alberto Gonzalez, vice president south for the Communications Workers of America Local 9413.

Rosen, who started her career as a computer programmer, noted in a release that “middle mile” connections form the backbone of the Internet, and are less well known than so called last mile connections to homes and businesses.

“Access to high-speed Internet is absolutely essential in our daily lives, but unfortunately too many communities across our state lack basic Internet services,” Rosen said in the release. “Thanks to my Middle Mile Broadband Development Act, access to the Internet is becoming a reality for more hardworking Nevada families.”

It’s not Rosen’s first foray into Internet access issues. In May, she got the Federal Communications Commission to update its broadband Internet access map after she said it grossly underestimated access in rural Nevada, which could have cost the state funding to expand that service. The new map reflected nearly 27,000 potential new Internet service locations in the state, she said. Rosen also got $55 million for Nevada in the American Rescue Plan to connect about 44,000 homes to the Internet in Nevada.

Rosen, first elected in 2018, is up for re-election next year. Her highest-profile Republican challenger so far is former Assemblyman Jim Marchant, who has claimed without evidence that the 2020 election was stolen. Marchant lost bids for Congress in 2020 and secretary of state in 2022.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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