Gary Bolton

The Importance of Spending Federal Funds to Build Broadband Right the First Time

In the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Congress established a preference for “priority broadband projects,” defined as projects providing broadband service that meet high performance standards, can scale with consumer and business needs over time, and will enable the deployment of 5G and other advanced services. After receiving input from a wide range of parties, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) determined that “end-to-end fiber optic facilities” were the only platform that satisfied these requirements and warranted such a priority.

Latest Broadband Infrastructure Playbook 3.0 Module Looks at Setting Extremely High-Cost Thresholds to Maximize Impact of BEAD Investments

One of the most critical questions that each State and Territory must tackle in implementing the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program is how to make efficient investments in the most reliable, capable, and sustainable broadband connectivity for those residents and businesses that have been left behind while reaching as many unserved and underserved locations as possible.

We must act urgently to make internet for all a reality

With virtually unlimited bandwidth, fiber optic connectivity is the fastest, most reliable, and most innovative solution for bridging the digital divide. Other options, like fixed wireless access, may be faster to deploy but require more upkeep, have limited capabilities, and require substantial new investment in a relatively short period.

Fiber, not satellites, is the way to go in BEAD program

We believe the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program provides the best possible chance to bring robust, reliable all-fiber broadband service to the many millions of unserved and underserved locations throughout the country. That said, we understand that National Telecommunications and Information Administration may be considering permitting States and Territories to award grants to applicants using other, less capable transmission technologies where the costs to deploy networks can be extremely high.

The future of broadband and fiber as infrastructure

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates $65 billion to broadband infrastructure spending, with approximately $47 billion of this dedicated to building networks.