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BEAM granted more than $151M to increase internet access across Mississippi

Rural broadband
Photo courtesy of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation

The Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) has been approved for $151.4 million through the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF).

Under the CPF grant, BEAM is anticipating to provide high-speed internet service to approximately 35,000 unserved households in Mississippi.

“We’re expanding broadband to every corner of our state,” Governor Tate Reeves said. “Mississippi is attracting the jobs of tomorrow by improving our state’s connectivity today. We’ll continue working hard to ensure that every Mississippian has access to broadband, regardless of their zip code.”

BEAM will open a competitive grant program for internet service providers as follows:

  • Category 1 – Broadband Infrastructure ($116.4 million): Awards in this category will help fund large-scale projects designed to serve large numbers of targeted addresses. Recipients of Category 1 awards must provide matching funds of at least 20%.
  • Category 2 – Line Extension & Deployment ($20 million): Line Extension & Deployment grants will be used to help fund extensions of existing networks that can be constructed quickly and offer at least 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload. Recipients in this category will be required to provide a match of at least $500 per address.
  • Category 3 – ARPA Broadband Communities ($15 million): This category promotes public and private partnerships and requires service providers to partner with a county, municipality, or an affiliated organization that dedicates a portion of its ARPA funds or some other public funding to the project. Recipients of awards in this category will be required to match at least 50 percent of the award amount, only a portion of which need to be from the public entity’s ARPA funds.

BEAM anticipates initial funding determinations for applicants to be made later this year. In compliance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s guidance, all awardees of CPF funds must complete their projects by December 31, 2026.

Nationwide, CPF provides a total of $10 billion to states, territories, and Tribal governments to fund broadband expansion to enable education, work, and telehealth opportunities.

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