$317 million coming to Utah to expand internet access across the state

Jun 27, 2023, 8:30 PM

improving internet access...

Rachel Perry moves to an assignment on her computer as she and her sister, Charlotte Perry, participate in school via their computers at home in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. The Beehive State is set to receive $317.4 million from the Biden Administration to improve internet access across the state. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Beehive State is set to receive $317.4 million through the Biden administration’s Internet For All initiative. This initiative works to close the digital divide and expand internet access and speed.

Claire Shiverdecker, program manager with the Utah Broadband Center says it’s known about this program for about a year now. According to Shiverdecker, the program was authorized in 2021 through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“We knew that they weren’t going to announce the state allocations until this month,” she tells KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and guest host Derek Brown. “We’ve been waiting with bated breath to see what it would be, and we’re really excited about it.”

Bringing internet access to rural areas

The Utah Broadband Center’s mission, according to Shiverdecker, is to help facilitate and increase internet access throughout the state.

“This is a really great opportunity to, kind of bridge, those gaps (between rural and urban areas) that we’ve seen,” she says.

Shiverdecker goes on to say the $317 million will be primarily used in all “unserved” parts of Utah.

“The way that those are defined is through speed definitions from the FCC,” she says. “So, any area that receives less than 25 megabits per second download speed and three megabits per second upload speed is technically defined as an unserved area.”

She says the majority of “unserved” areas are in rural parts of the state. This funding will improve internet access in these areas.

“Utah has been really fortunate that we’ve … been a leader in the broadband sector for many years,” Shiverdecker says. “But a lot of the areas that still need to be built out are very remote. So, it’s been very difficult to reach them and that’s why we’re so excited that we can have this support to make it a little bit easier to get service to those areas.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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$317 million coming to Utah to expand internet access across the state