Gianforte announces historic investment in broadband expansion
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News from the office of Governor Gianforte
HELENA — Approving the recommendations of the Communications Advisory Commission, Governor Greg Gianforte today announced a $309 million investment to expand access to reliable broadband for 62,000 families, small businesses, farms, and ranches in Montana.
“Today’s a great day for Montana,” Governor Gianforte said. “Our historic, $309 million investment in broadband expansion will create new opportunities for Montanans to receive an education, access health care services, thrive in a good-paying job, and stay connected with family and loved ones. I thank the commission and Department of Administration for their hard work to expand Montanans’ access to broadband.”
Last May, Governor Gianforte signed into law a bill establishing the ConnectMT program to expand access to reliable broadband in unserved and underserved Montana communities.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, about one in three Montanans do not have access to broadband, which is three times the national average. The digital divide is even greater in Montana’s rural communities where three in five Montanans do not have access to broadband.
Following a robust and transparent public process, on Dec. 7, 2022, the Communications Advisory Commission, chaired by Senator Jason Ellsworth, approved a list of 61 broadband infrastructure projects totaling $309,080,600.16 to recommend to the governor for approval. The governor formally approved the commission’s recommendations today.
The investment will provide service to 61,887 serviceable locations in Montana. Of those locations, 38,631 will be in unserved communities, 21,956 will be in underserved communities, and 1,300 will be in frontier communities.
“I’d like to thank my team at the Department of Administration as well as the commission for their extraordinary work to bring reliable, affordable broadband to 62,000 Montana households,” said Misty Ann Giles, Director of the Department of Administration and the state’s Chief Operating Officer who leads the broadband program. “This generational expansion will help deliver greater opportunities for hardworking Montanans in education, health care, and remote work, and we look forward to the impact of this investment.”