Lobbying the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Rules
Thirteen Republican Senators sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) asking the agency to change its approach to administering some of the provisions of the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grants. The letter specifically asked for changes related to rate regulation, technology preference, provider preference, workforce requirements, middle mile deployments, and the application review process (You can read the letter here). It’s an interesting list of objections. A few of the objections are on everybody’s hate list of the grant rules. Grant applicants do not want to figure out a climate resiliency plan and will be fearful if they do it poorly, they might not win a grant. A few of the requests are clearly in favor of incumbent broadband providers, such as any requirement that might force a state broadband office to consider non-traditional providers like cities. And a few requests are things that concern all broadband providers, such as the NTIA requiring broadband rates that are too low to make a business plan work. Just as interesting are the items not included on the list. Small providers are worried about the requirement to have a certified letter of credit—something that doesn’t concern large providers. Not having this on the list makes me think the senators are being prompted by big broadband internet access service providers.
Lobbying the BEAD Rules