Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program

States could be the next big source of middle mile funding

The US government just dished out $930 million in support for middle mile broadband projects, but a pair of experts said there’s demand for billions in additional funding. Both noted that states could be the next big source of support as they work out how to divvy up their newly allocated Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) allotments. Zayo was one of the big winners in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) recent award round for the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, scooping up nearly $93 million for three projects.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $930 Million to Expand and Strengthen America’s High-Speed Internet Networks

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced $930,021,354.34 to expand middle mile high-speed Internet infrastructure across 35 states and Puerto Rico.

Communications and Technology Subcommittee Hearing Examines the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology convened to conduct oversight of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The subcommittee is considering reauthorizing NTIA for the first time since 1993. Key questions leading into the hearing included:

What did NTIA's Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth Accomplish in 2022?

The Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG) is housed within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Congress created OICG in the ACCESS BROADBAND Act of 2021, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, to oversee all broadband activity at NTIA and lead federal efforts to fund and expand broadband access across the country.

Biden-⁠Harris Administration Kicks off Infrastructure Week by Highlighting Tremendous Progress Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure 18 Months In

President Joe Biden (D-DE) signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)  18 months ago. To date, the Administration has announced over $220 billion in IIJA funding, including over 32,000 specific projects and awards, across over 4,500 communities in all 50 states, DC, and territories. To implement the law, agencies have now hired over 5,000 federal employees, and states and territories have appointed infrastructure coordinators to facilitate clear communication and coordination with the federal government.

Don’t Build Networks to Nowhere: Staying on Track in Broadband Funding

Some policymakers are calling for money to subsidize middle-mile networks. Because it is so difficult to precisely define “middle mile,” and therefore identify and measure its outcomes beyond simply being built, it’s hard for politicians and recipients of the money to resist their spending spree of federal funds regardless of whether it’s needed. More middle-mile funding can generate new construction and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but nobody will ever know if it generated more broadband. 

[Sarah Oh Lam is a senior fellow at the Technology Policy Institute]

New Dashboard Highlights Coordinated Federal Investments in High-Speed Internet Programs

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a new dashboard highlighting federal investments in high-speed Internet programs. NTIA developed the dashboard to accompany the Federal Broadband Funding Report.

Buy America and BEAD

In the State of the Union speech earlier in 2023, President Biden made it clear that he wants to see the monies spent on infrastructure projects follow the Buy America rules. The law says that purchasing funded by the US government should have a preference for using American-made products. The rules allow for waivers from this provision, but the presumption is that without a waiver that American goods must be used.