BEAM provided more than $151 million to improve Internet access across Mississippi

Photo courtesy Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation

The Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) received a $151.4 million grant through the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF).

As part of the CPF grant, BEAM expects to provide high-speed Internet service to approximately 35,000 underserved Mississippi homes.

“We’re rolling out broadband to every corner of our state,” Gov. Tate Reeves said. “Mississippi is attracting tomorrow’s jobs by improving our state’s connectivity today. We will continue to work hard to ensure every Mississippi resident has access to broadband, regardless of their zip code.”

BEAM will launch a competitive ISP grant program as follows:

Category 1 – Broadband Infrastructure ($116.4 million): Awards in this category will help fund major projects designed to serve a large number of targeted addresses. Recipients of Category 1 awards are required to provide at least 20% appropriate funding. Category 2 – Line Upgrade and Rollout ($20 million): Line upgrade and rollout grants are used to fund upgrades to existing networks that can be deployed quickly and provide at least 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload offer. Recipients in this category must match at least $500 per address. Category 3 – ARPA Broadband Communities ($15 million): This category encourages public and private partnerships and requires service providers to work with a county, municipality, or affiliated organization that will use a portion of their ARPA funding or other public funding for the project provides . Recipients of awards in this category must raise at least 50 percent of the award amount, with only a portion of this coming from the public entity’s ARPA funds.

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BEAM expects to make initial funding decisions for applicants later this year. In accordance with US Treasury Department guidelines, all recipients of CPF funds must complete their projects by December 31, 2026.

Nationwide, CPF provides state, territory and tribal governments with a total of $10 billion to fund broadband deployments to enable education, jobs and telehealth opportunities.

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