NTIA's Alan Davidson Sees $1 Billion Middle Mile Program Moving Fast, Encourages State Engagement
As the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) gears up to administer the $42.5 billion Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) rural broadband infrastructure funding program, NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson gave an update at a Washington (DC) event on April 13. Among many broadband infrastructure funding topics discussed, Davidson seemed particularly upbeat about progress with the $1 billion Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, which is a component of the larger $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1 billion allocated in the IIJA for middle mile network deployments could be awarded in advance of the $42.5 billion for last-mile networks, Davidson noted. The reason is that unlike the BEAD rural broadband funding program, the middle mile program is not dependent on the completion of the FCC broadband mapping project. NTIA is also adopting a “customer service” mindset toward state broadband agencies that will be responsible for awarding funding to network operators in their states, said Davidson. Asked what states should do to prepare for the program and in a nod to infomercials and telethons, Davidson joked that “operators are standing by” to take calls from the states.
NTIA Chief Sees $1 Billion Middle Mile Program Moving Fast, Encourages State Engagement