HBCUs And Hispanic-Serving Institutions Get $175M Broadband Boost
Last week, Minority-Serving Institutions received over $175 million to improve access to affordable, reliable, and high-speed internet.
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently announced it awarded more than $175 million to 61 colleges and universities as part of the Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) Pilot Program.
The funding comes from the Internet for All initiative which aims to ensure all Americans can access affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.
The initiative includes funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), Minority Serving Institutions, and five Tribal Colleges and Universities.
The CMC Pilot Program will allow the institutions to improve their technological infrastructure and capabilities and support local communities.
Supporting Black and Brown Students
“This funding is a real shot in the arm for our most deserving students,” said Cabrillo College President and Superintendent Matt Wetstein in a statement.
Cabrillo College will receive over $2.9 million and use the funding to support hybrid classrooms, staffing, software, and partnerships with local K-12 schools.
“We will be able to provide laptop and technology support to students in the Watsonville and Live Oak areas, while also building out our capacity to offer hyflex learning spaces for our students and faculty.”
“The University will also provide extended wireless network coverage to campus locations that have limited, unreliable, or no wireless access.”
Alabama State University (ASU), which also received over $2.9 million, will use the funding to establish a hybrid cloud infrastructure and maintain its cybersecurity program.
“The University will also provide extended wireless network coverage to campus locations that have limited, unreliable, or no wireless access,” Dr. Tanjula Petty, ASU’s assistant provost for Student Success and Special Initiatives, added in a statement.
“With this funding, we are not only helping students succeed, but we’re also helping members of the community succeed,” Petty continued.
Broadband in the Black Rural South
The lack of internet access is especially pronounced in rural, southern parts of the US with higher Black populations, according to a report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Nearly 40% of Black Americans in the Rural South lack home internet access.
Nearly 40% of Black Americans in the Rural South lack home internet access. By contrast, 23% of white Americans in the same states lack home internet access.
Among Black Americans in the rural south with home interest access, many lack high-speed broadband either because it is unavailable or too expensive to purchase.
Expanding broadband in Black communities in the rural south can increase incomes, employment, workforce skills, and educational and healthcare opportunities.