(Cole Lauterbach) – Nevada has officially embarked on its goal to make broadband internet accessible across the state.
Gov. Steve Sisolak gave the formal send-off of the state’s first phase of “High Speed NV” Thursday.
“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,” Sisolak said. “We cannot leave any community behind, urban or rural, as we work to close the digital divide.”
Sisolak made the announcement from the Southern Nevada Traffic Management Center, which is home to the Nevada Department of Transportation, the Nevada Highway Patrol, the Nevada Department of Public Safety, and FAST, a division of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.
Phase 1 of the initiative spends a $200 million combination of state and federal funding allotted via the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment, and Jobs Act. Literature on High Speed NV says the initiative will focus on connecting unserved and underserved areas of Nevada with “universal, scalable and affordable internet access for all Nevadans by 2029.”
The entire program is expected to cost taxpayers $500 million. State officials have begun issuing requests for proposals and plan to release another batch of RFPs this summer.
Nevada’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology estimated that 450,000 Nevadans don’t have access to high-speed internet.
In addition to expanding broadband access, High Speed NV will make telecommunications workforce training and digital literacy courses available.