COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today, Congressman James E. Clyburn (SC-06) is pleased to announce the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is allocating $551,535,983 in funds from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program to help close the digital divide in South Carolina.
“I often say access to affordable high-speed broadband will have the same dramatic impact in the 21st century as access to electrification efforts had in the 20th century. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious fault lines in our country, which disparate access to the basic necessity that is high-speed internet has become,” said Congressman James E. Clyburn. “I’m pleased that with this BEAD funding, South Carolina will now have the means to bring high-speed internet access to every household across the state. This life-changing funding will connect every community to opportunity and bring us significantly closer to making this country’s greatness accessible and affordable to all.”
“This investment will help ensure that every household in South Carolina, including those in rural communities, has access to affordable, high-speed internet,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the leadership of Representative Clyburn, we will close the digital divide and create new opportunities for South Carolinians to succeed in the 21st century economy.”
“We are incredibly grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration and Congressman Clyburn for their work to make this funding possible,” said SC Broadband Office Director Jim Stritzinger. “We are working hard on behalf of the citizens of South Carolina to make sure everyone is connected to reliable affordable high-speed internet.”
In 2021, the South Carolina Broadband Office estimated that it needed $650 million in funding to bring high-speed broadband to every underserved household in the state. South Carolina received $400 million from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, roughly $100 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), and has dedicated $50 million in state match funds. Thanks to today’s $551.5 million allocation from BEAD, which is $451 million more than the $100 million the state had incorporated into its original plan, South Carolina will be able to build out faster, affordable, high-speed broadband for every household in the state. This funding ensures South Carolina will remain on track to achieve 100% affordable connectivity by 2026.
The BEAD program is the federal government’s largest and most ambitious investment in high-speed, affordable broadband in history. The $42.45 billion dollar program will provide federal funding in the form of grants to eligible states, territories, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico for broadband planning, development, mapping, equity, and adoption projects and activities by the program’s conclusion. The program was created through President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in 2021. Congressman Clyburn was the only member of the South Carolina House delegation to vote in favor of the bill.