DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – On Friday morning, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper made an announcement at Kramden Institute in Durham about a new initiative by the Biden-Harris administration. They’re working to bring affordable, reliable high-speed internet to every American.
Raimondo and Gov. Cooper were joined by other elected officials where they toured Kramden Institute, a Durham company that refurbishes computers for those in need.
Following the tour, Raimondo announced a new initiative called Internet For All, that is funded by the Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure law.
Through this initiative, $45 billion will be put toward providing affordable, reliable high-speed internet to every state in the nation.
“I hope we can agree, every American deserves access to Internet, period,” Raimondo said. “Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity.”
Through this plan, each state can receive at least $100 million to make sure every resident in their state has access to internet and that is affordable. They also said states can apply for more funds, if needed.
“Every state is going to have to create a state plan, which proves that everyone in their state will get covered at an affordable rate,” Raimondo said.
The funds will help each state hire and train workers who will lay out the fiber. In addition, each state will also work with internet providers to make sure the internet is affordable for their residents.
“We have about 1.2 million North Carolinians who are on the wrong side of the digital divide,” Gov. Cooper said. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Gov. Cooper said North Carolina is ready to jump on board with this initiative.
“We’re going to apply for every penny that we can get, and we’ll make sure it gets used here in our state,” he said.
Raimondo also chimed in and said the average price of internet in North Carolina is $60 per month, and that is not affordable for many families.
Durham grandmother Lorie Lewis said her family struggles to afford internet every month.
“I’m only a part-time worker, so I can’t afford to pay $50 a month for Internet, and so I am struggling trying to pay for Internet on a month-to-month basis,” Lewis said.
Lewis said she is hoping this new initiative will make it more manageable.
“It’s a necessity, it really is,” Lewis said. “We can’t live without computers, and in order to have a computer, we have to have Internet. It has to be affordable for us.”
The goal of the Internet For All initiative is to provide affordable internet for all Americans by 2030.