How Will States Determine Unserved Areas for BEAD? Two States’ Plans

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States are making plans for awarding funding in the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. The issue is particularly complex because concerns have arisen about how soon the Federal Communication Commission's National Broadband Map will be accurate enough to be used for that purpose. BEAD Program Director Evan Feinman advised states that they could do their own challenge process for the FCC Broadband Map. One state that plans to rely, in large part, on the FCC map is Idaho. Ramón S. Hobdey-Sánchez, broadband program manager for the Idaho commerce department, said “our plan is to have the underlying foundation of that map be the FCC data and we will layer other data on top of that.” Maine is an example of a state that did its own broadband map. As Andrew Butcher, president of Maine Connectivity Authority, explained, the state created an intelligence platform that aggregates data from multiple data sets. Butcher sees that map playing a key role in determining unserved areas. The state did, however, file 130,000 availability challenges in time for the January 13 filing date encouraged by the NTIA. The FCC is still in the process of adjudicating those challenges but has accepted a high percentage of the ones that have been addressed so far, according to Butcher.

How Will States Determine Unserved Areas for BEAD? Two States Told Us Their Plans