Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program
The Federal Communications Commission released a pre-production draft of its new National Broadband Map. The map will display specific location-level information about broadband services available throughout the country – a significant step forward from the census block level data previously collected. This release of the draft map kicks off the public challenge processes that will play a critical role in improving the accuracy of the map.
On Monday, September 26, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Director of Research and Fellowships Dr. Revati Prasad hosted an online panel discussion, From the Ground Up: Broadband Mapping By and for Communities, on how communities and states are collecting data on local broadband availability as the Federal Communications Commission rolls out the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program.
National Skills Coalition (NSC) announced a partnership with Comcast to educate local, state, and national decision-makers about the benefits of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to promote digital equity and opportunity nationwide. The initiative aims to help close the digital skill divide that is currently limiting educational and employment opportunities for nearly 50 million Americans.
In the summer of 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will begin distributing hundreds of millions, and in some cases billions, of funding to states as part of the $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. Expectedly, states are busy creating and staffing broadband offices in anticipation of the BEAD and digital equity monies. Blinded by a nationwide broadband fever, however, some broadband leaders have proclaimed that states will entirely close, bridge, or eliminate the digital divide in the coming years.
We write with great appreciation of your efforts to implement the historic provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to make high-speed internet accessible and affordable for all Americans.
As Chair of the committee tasked with overseeing the historic $65 billion investment in broadband under the Infrastructure and Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Sen. Cantwell (D-WA) is working to ensure funding goes to communities that need it most. Through a broad array of broadband initiatives, our Committee Democrats believe we can expand economic opportunity and access to education, healthcare, telehealth, and e-commerce, regardless of where people live. Sen.
AT&T expects to see Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding flow from the federal government to the states and expects the “more aggressive” states to award some of that funding to broadband projects before the end of 2023, said AT&T CEO John Stankey. Citing the 80/20 rule, Stankey said, “The bigger states that are going to have the bulk of the funding are pretty zoned in on this and are moving pretty aggressively to get the process underway." Smaller states, he said, may “take a little bit longer to get their act together” and may be waiting to see what the more agg
NTIA ended 2022 by awarding $304 million in funding to every state, along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, for planning how to best deploy networks to connect everyone in America to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service. Each state has different needs and unique challenges in bridging the digital divide, and our planning grants recognize the importance of flexibility. Still, there are broad trends driving the ways states are putting this money to use:
Engineering firm Dewberry Alaska—in collaboration with mapping company Ecopia AI, Rasmuson Foundation, and the State of Alaska—is working on a broadband map based on what Ecopia AI is calling “an accurate, up-to-date and complete map of every building, in both rural and urban areas, in the state.” Ecopia AI’s specialty is applying artificial intelligence (AI) to satellite imagery to identify buildings.
In response to Sen. John Thune's (R-SD) oversight letter on issues concerning federal broadband programs, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association writes: