Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Grants in High-cost Areas

Coverage Type: 

There are two interesting aspects of the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that discuss how States might deal with parts of the country that have higher than average costs. The first provision says that in areas with high costs, a State should strongly consider using the lowest-cost technology that the NTIA has defined as capable of providing broadband speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps. The second goes further and says that a State can consider using a technology that is not considered capable of providing reliable broadband service. That might mean rejecting a proposal to build fiber and awarding funding to a satellite provider that promises to deliver 100/20 Mbps. Each state is going to have a public comment period, and counties and communities that have the more challenging costs and terrains need to pay close attention to your state’s proposed plan to make sure the state isn’t going to write you off before the grant process even begins. That challenge process might be the only chance you’ll have to get good broadband.

[Doug Dawson is president of CCG Consulting.]

BEAD Grants in High-cost Areas