Regulating via Grants

Everywhere I look I see Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grant rules that are doing what I call regulating by grant. State Broadband Offices are creating grant rules that go far beyond adhering to National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) guidelines. They are insisting on grant rules which are intended to achieve social policies. I’m highlighting two such items buried inside Iowa's BEAD rules. The first requirement is in paragraph 1.3.18 of the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and concerns having a low-price option for low-income subscribers.

Iowa’s Digital Equity Plan Accepted

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has accepted Iowa’s Digital Equity plan. Using $708,924.00 from the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, Iowa created a plan aimed at addressing disparities in digital access, skills and affordability across the state. NTIA has accepted digital equity plans from all 50 States, D.C., and Puerto Rico. On March 29th, 2024, NTIA launched the $1.44 billion Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program.

FCC Grants Auction 108 Licenses

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) announced the grant of two long-form applications and issuance of nine licenses for Auction 108. WTB finds the applications for the licenses to be complete and in conformance with the FCC's rules. Granting the applications for the licenses serves the public interest, convenience, and necessity.  Furthermore, the FCC has received full payment for the licenses.


What's Your State's Digital Equity Plan?

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Monday, February 12, 2024


Addressing Digital Equity Needs in Iowa

In early January 2024, the Iowa Department of Management (DOM) released the draft State of Iowa Digital Equity Plan for public comment. The Digital Equity Plan outlines the results of extensive research and outreach efforts to set baseline conditions and goals for addressing digital equity opportunities in Iowa.


Addressing Digital Equity Needs in Iowa

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Rural Telecommunications Mergers & Acquisitions: One Iowa Provider Buys Another

In a deal between two broadband and telecommunications operators in rural southeast Iowa, Kalona Cooperative Technology Company (KCTC) acquired Farmers & Merchants Mutual Telephone Company (Famtel).The transaction was about two years in the making. The companies had shared ideas over the years and, in October 2022, the KCTC board of directors signed a letter of intent to acquire Farmtel.

Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program Notice of Funding Availability #008

The Iowa Department of Management received 91 applications for round #8 of the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program which is designed to reduce or eliminate areas of the State of Iowa that are unserved or undeserved by broadband service. Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) #008 made $148,960,000 available for broadband expansion in Iowa. Funds for this grant round have been allocated from the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) Capital Projects Fund ("CPF") to provide a substantial infusion of resources to help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the f

Mediacom expands fiber network to two more rural Iowa cities

Mediacom is making progress in bridging the digital divide across rural Iowa, as it just wrapped up two fiber expansion projects in the towns of Rutland and Williams (IA). Residents can now sign up for broadband plans with up to 2-gigabit download speeds as well as low-cost phone plans. Including these two projects, Mediacom has built fiber in 12 communities in collaboration with the Empower Iowa Rural Broadband Grant Program. The public-private partnership has allowed the operator to bring fiber to over 1,600 rural Iowa locations.