Central State gets $3M for broadband access

Central State University is among 12 colleges and universities given a total of $33.5 million in grants to improve internet access from the Department of Commerce.

Central State will get about $3 million. The grant is expected to help the historically Black university improve its internet infrastructure, expand options in telehealth and online education, upgrade remote learning classrooms, purchase student laptops, provide IT money and provide remote learning opportunities for high school students.

“High-speed broadband availability can no longer be considered a luxury item, reserved for large metropolitan cities and affluent communities, but has increasingly become a necessity for smaller, rural communities that wish to connect seamlessly to the world,” said Central State President Jack Thomas.

The money that Central State received is from the Connecting Minority Communities program, which part of President Joe Biden administration’s Internet for All initiative. That initiative will connect everyone in America with affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service, according to the Department of Commerce.

This program specifically directs $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for expanding high-speed Internet access and connectivity to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), and Minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

The goal is to expand access to the internet and help minority students gain internet skills needed in the modern workforce.

“High-speed Internet service is going to create opportunities, increase productivity, and improve lives, particularly in communities that have too often been left behind.” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves.

Other institutions receiving money in this round of grant funding include H. Councill Trenholm State Community College in Alabama, University of Arizona, Loma Linda University in California, Broward College in Florida, St. Augustine College in Illinois, Dominican University in Illinois, Simmons College of Kentucky, Inc., Coppin State University in Maryland, Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, Saint Augustine’s University in North Carolina and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

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