Sisolak launches initiative to provide high-speed internet for underserved Nevadans
Governor Steve Sisolak on Thursday launched the first phase of the "High Speed NV" initiative, geared to providing underserved Nevadans with internet.
Phase 1, as his office calls it, will invest $200 million through state and federal funds from the American Rescue Plan and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
It will focusing on closing a digital divide to rural and underserved urban areas, providing scalable and affordable internet to all Nevadans by 2029.
According to the governor, the initiative will also be jobs-focused, providing work training and "a new generation of telecommunications workers."
“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 Sisolak at the event. “We cannot leave any community behind, urban or rural, as we work to close the digital divide.”
According to the Office of Science, Innovation and Technology, as many as 450,000 Nevadans are considered underserved for high speed internet.
Brian Mitchell, director of OSIT, said people can apply for financial assistance through the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a $30 a month subsidy.
"For families who are already enrolled in other public assistance programs like Medicaid, or SNAP, or TANIF, or if your child is enrolled in the school lunch program," he said. "Or if you have social security income or housing assistance—any number of those federal programs, you’ll be able to qualify for this program."
Internet connectivity and the subsidy program is especially needed on tribal lands. Desiree Quintana is with the Intertribal Council of Nevada and said internet connectivity is a necessity.
"Connectivity is like any other utility," she said. "It’s like having water or power. And for our tribal nations who were intentionally put in isolated, remote areas by the federal government when reservations were created, this is huge."