Tester Secures $266 Million to Bring High Speed Internet to Rural Montana through American Rescue Plan

Funding to increase access to high speed internet, improve digital literacy

As a part of his continued effort to support Montana families and small businesses, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $266 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for the state of Montana to bring high speed internet to rural Montana.

Tester was Montana’s only statewide elected official that supported the American Rescue Plan.

“Access to high speed internet is one of the biggest keys to success for Montana’s students, families, and small businesses,” said Tester. “If we want to compete in the 21st century, it’s critical that folks can stay connected from every corner of the state, and this investment from the American Rescue Plan will help to make that a reality. Between ARPA and my bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we’re well on our way to ensuring that all Montanans have the tools they need to succeed in an increasingly online world.”

Tester secured this funding from the American Rescue Plan Act in March of 2021, and it will be distributed from Montana’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) and Montana’s Capital Projects allocation. Oversight and distribution of state spending will be conducted by the Montana State Legislature and the State of Montana.

In 2020, Tester held hundreds of meetings with Montana’s workers, small business owners, frontline health care workers, educators, Tribes, and local officials to solicit input about what Montanans need to make it through the pandemic. Tester used that input to help craft the American Rescue Plan, which provided $20 billion in vaccine funding, $382 million for Montana K-12 schools, legislation to restore long-distance service to the Empire Builder Amtrak route, and billions for small businesses, rural hospitals and the Department of Veterans Affairs.