NTIA Begins Accepting Applications for Middle Mile Infrastructure Program
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has begun accepting applications to the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program and has issued 88 pages of guidance for network operators requesting funding. The program, which was created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), has a budget of $1 billion. The applications portal is ready to accept applications just over a month after NTIA issued a notice of funding opportunity detailing rules for the program. Middle mile networks are defined as those that “do not connect directly to an end user location and include leased dark fiber, interoffice transport, backhaul, carrier-neutral internet exchange facilities, carrier-neutral submarine cable landing stations, undersea cables, transport connectivity to data centers, special access transport, and similar services,” as well as wired or private wireless broadband infrastructure, including microwave capacity, radio tower access and other services. NTIA says it expects to make awards for $5 million to $100 million in the middle mile program. Applicants may request higher or lower dollar amounts, but if they do, they must provide a rationale for the unusually high or low funding requests. The funding can only cover 70% of project costs and applicants must detail their other funding sources and amounts.
NTIA Begins Accepting Applications for IIJA Middle Mile Funding