Red Light Report
In June, the Biden administration allocated $42.45 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding among states—the largest single pot of federal broadband spending in our country’s history. Biden officials at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) made these allocations despite repeated requests from lawmakers and communities across the country to first improve the data underlying NTIA’s funding decisions. Now that NTIA has made BEAD allocations, however, it appears that the program will waste billions of dollars in duplicative subsidies and divert funds away from truly unserved rural areas. This report analyzes the current state of BEAD funding, on a per-beneficiary basis and in the context of three other recent federal programs that already doled out $17 billion for broadband deployment. The report offers three key findings:
- The Biden administration’s BEAD allocations provide ten states and territories more than $10,000 per unserved location—including a galling $547,254 per unserved location in Washington, DC
- Because the BEAD program did not consider whether a location would be served in the near future through funding from a previous federal program, it allocated funding to over five million locations that are already being funded by other federal programs. If funding from other programs had been considered, seven states would have had zero unserved locations. As a result, the billions in taxpayer dollars sent to these states will be diverted to purposes other than connecting unserved Americans.
- The Biden administration’s technology bias against non-fiber broadband will drive up costs by billions of dollars and likely deprive some communities of any broadband access at all. Further, some of the “unserved” locations that will receive taxpayer-subsidized fiber-to-the-home service include mansions, beachfront resort communities, and mountain vacation homes.
Red Light Report