The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law in November 2021, provides $550 billion in federal spending with a focus toward infrastructure. Under IIJA, Montana will receive a minimum of $100 million to improve broadband coverage across the state. Additionally, under IIJA, 286,000 or 27% of people in Montana will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.

 

The Montana Department of Administration (DOA) is conducting research to support efforts for the ConnectMT program to increase broadband access and quality across Montana. It is estimated that nearly 24% of Montanans do not have an internet subscription of any kind. As such, this research is crucial to increaing connectivity and bridging the digital divide to better connect residents for school, work, and staying in touch with friends and family.

ConnectMT created Montana’s first broadband program (SB297) to award grants to internet service providers to improve broadband access across the state. In 2021, the Montana Legislature dedicated $270 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to the first round of grants, with awards anticipated this fall. Continuing these efforts, Montana is applying for funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).