SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Louisiana has made more progress than any other state toward implementing the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD).

Louisiana is expected to receive $1.35 billion from the BEAD program, which will help connect 200,000 locations to broadband service.

According to ConnectLA, the barriers contributing to digital inequity in many ways include accessibility and affordability of internet access, education, resources, and services; usability of technology, translation technology focused on English speakers; and barriers to telehealth.

They state the largest non-English speaking group in Louisiana is Hispanic residents (mostly Spanish speakers), with small pockets of Vietnamese-speaking residents.

“I set a goal of closing Louisiana’s digital divide by 2029, and our successful aggressive pursuit of federal funding for broadband expansion has us on track to meet our goal,” said Governor John Bel Edwards, “Broadband expansion will help our businesses grow, our children learn, and our people access critical healthcare services.”

Louisiana is the only state or territory that has completed 7 of 8 ‘major milestones’ for its BEAD application, with the final step being National Telecommunications and Information Administration approval.