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Nevada set to receive more broadband funding after Rosen-led push

Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Senator Jacky Rosen speaks during a celebration of the recent designation of Avi Kwa Ame National Monument at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas on Friday, April 14, 2023. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent).

Federal regulators are updating a national broadband map after a push by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) meant to ensure the state will not miss out on grant opportunities to expand high-speed internet access. 

Rosen had raised the issue of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) prior map’s overrepresentation of service in rural Nevada in letters to the agency and hearings, and said the new map better reflects her intentions in shaping broadband policy within the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The new map will allow Nevada to receive a larger portion of the $42 billion allocated for the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program in the infrastructure bill. 

“I’m proud to announce that thanks to my efforts, the updated version of the FCC broadband map accurately identifies additional unserved locations across Nevada, which will help bring more federal infrastructure funding to connect them to high-speed internet,” Rosen said in a statement on Tuesday.

The BEAD program will provide grants for the construction of broadband networks, the subsidization of internet service for low-income households, and programs to encourage internet service education.

The new map, which will determine how much BEAD funding each state receives when billions of dollars are expended in June, identifies almost 27,000 locations in Nevada that are broadband serviceable — meaning there already is or could be broadband there — and nearly 7,000 locations that had not been previously identified as lacking high-speed internet service. 

In a January letter to the FCC, Rosen and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) said Nevada stood to lose out on millions of dollars if the map went unchanged. The prior map, according to the Nevada Office of Science, Information, and Technology (OSIT), found that 20,000 of the map’s Nevada locations overstated coverage capabilities.

Ryan Berni, a senior advisor on the White House infrastructure team, said Rosen was uniquely plugged into the challenges with the prior map. He said her team had numerous meetings with the administration over the last few months to raise Nevada-specific broadband issues.

“She was paying particularly close attention to the mapping and how critical it is to the allocations that states ultimately get,” Berni said. “She's really honed in on making sure that all of the serviceable locations are counted and that we don't overstate service.”

The minimum BEAD allocation per state is $100 million.

A February report from BroadbandNow Research identified Nevada as being in the bottom half of states ranked by broadband access. And a 2020 report from OSIT identified a significant gap between urban and rural areas — more than 20 percent of residents in rural Elko, Eureka, Lander, Mineral, Pershing, Storey and White Pine counties lack internet service at FCC-standard speeds. 

These unserved areas are the target of BEAD funding — making their correct identification critical for federal formulas. 

Berni said the new map, which contains a quality and quantity of data the federal government has never had access to before, will enable the administration’s ultimate goal of mass connectivity.

“June is going to be a really big month for our work to deliver high speed internet access to every American,” he said. “These maps are really important because they allow us to have a clearer picture of who has high speed internet service and who doesn't.”


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