Just days after the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) opened applications for its $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, the agency announced a majority of states have already stated their intent to participate.

As of Wednesday, the DoC’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said 32 states as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands had signed on to the program. Those yet to submit letters of intent include Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

The news comes after the NTIA on Friday unveiled its rules for a series of broadband programs offering a total of $45 billion in funding for deployments. BEAD is the largest of these and accounts for $42.45 billion of the total funding pot.

States wishing to tap into the available funds have until July 18 to submit letters of intent for the BEAD program. Letters for the $1.5 billion State Digital Equity Act program, another of the funds NTIA is overseeing, are due by July 12.

“It is absolutely critical that states join our efforts to deliver on access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “Joining together, we can ensure every American will have access to technologies that allow them to attend class, start a small business, visit with their doctor, and participate in the modern economy.” 

For the BEAD program, the letters of intent will unlock a $5 million advance which is designed to help the states develop their broadband deployment plans. Once they receive the initial planning funds, states will have 270 days to submit a five-year action plan.

Raimondo previously noted only 36 out of the 50 state governments have a designated broadband office. In order to help all states tap into the federal funding, she and NTIA chief Alan Davidson have said the agency will assign a department contact for each and provide technical assistance as needed.