Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak formally launched Phase 1 of the “High Speed NV” initiative at the Southern Nevada Traffic Management Center this week. Phase 1 will invest $200 million through a combination of state and federal funds from the American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The overall initiative will be a $500 million investment.
The plan will focus on infrastructure to close the digital divide to unserved and underserved rural and urban areas, with a goal of creating universal, scalable and affordable internet access for all Nevadans by 2029.
According to the Office of Science, Innovation and Technology (OSIT), as many as 450,000 Nevadans are considered underserved for high speed internet. This initiative will also be jobs-focused and provide workforce training opportunities to a new generation of telecommunications workers.
Where will the FUNDS be targeted?
- Unserved and underserved residential and business locations in both rural and urban areas of Nevada
- State and local government facilities
- Community anchor institutions like schools and libraries that lack the connectivity needed to serve students, patrons, and residents
- Digital equity initiatives and programs that help Nevadans afford internet services, acquire a connected device, and become digitally literate
The federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a $30 per month discount to any Nevadan at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Any household with someone already enrolled in SNAP, Medicaid, the School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, WIC, Lifeline, or another federal program is eligible for the ACP. Currently, 33 percent of eligible Nevadans are enrolled.
The Governor was joined by Lt. Governor Lisa Cano Burkhead, OSIT Director Brian Mitchell, Senator Nicole Cannizzaro, Assemblyman Howard Watts, RTC of Southern Nevada staff and others for the launch.
“The pandemic shone a bright light on issues that existed long before COVID-19 – In the past two years, we’ve seen just how important equitable access to high-speed, reliable internet is for work, education, healthcare and civic participation,” said Governor Sisolak. “We cannot leave any community behind, urban or rural, as we work to close the digital divide.”