Individuals who primarily Reside in a Rural Area

Michael Baker International Selected by the Arkansas State Broadband Office for Broadband Grants Systems and Services Contract

Michael Baker International announced that the firm was recently selected by the Arkansas State Broadband Office (ASBO) to provide broadband grant administration systems and services. The firm will partner with ASBO to supply services for managing and administering public funding sources—including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD), U.S.

Letter from NTCA to the NTIA

On May 21, Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, sent a letter on behalf of the organization to National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson. The letter followed up on a discussion about the implementation of the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.

Communication union districts continue broadband rollout

Town by town, Vermont is getting connected thanks to communication union districts (CUDs) rolling out fiber cable. The Vermont Community Broadband Board says the work of the CUDs is moving the needle, with the vast majority of Vermonters getting access to fiber connection, something they say is a change from a year-and-a-half ago. Davis Brakeley calls his experience of trying to surf the web just over a year ago “the dark ages.” Brakeley is on the board of trustees of the Shard Villa Residential Care Home in Salisbury.

Oh sure, everybody loves rural broadband, now

John Greene, former CEO of New Lisbon Holdings, said, “Who would have ever thought we’d see private equity filter into rural areas and small companies?” Rural broadband is very expensive to build. That’s why the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program is designed to subsidize the gap where it otherwise doesn’t make financial sense for private companies to build. Panelists at the Connect(X) show noted that one of the main competitors in some rural areas is the local electric co-op. Greene said rural electric co-ops “are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Unreliable BDC Data

Representatives of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association met with Hayley Steffen, legal advisor to Commissioner Anna Gomez for wireline and space, to discuss the impacts of unreliable Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) data and “broadband overreach” on policy and funding decisions made by the Federal Communications Commission and provided a series of recommendations related to broadband availability mapping and BDC processes. While the FCC decided in 2021 that what a provider “makes available” would be determined by reference to a provider’s “advertised” levels of performance, and while it de

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Amnesty

I have been asked my opinion several times about Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) amnesty—letting RDOF winners walk away from their obligations without big penalties. There is no easy answer to the question. It’s certainly a timely topic, since we are seeing internet service providers (ISPs) walk away from RDOF. There are several good arguments to be made that favor some kind of amnesty.

Heed the middle mile for rural broadband, industry leaders caution

Some $100 billion in U.S. broadband investment will be spent in rural areas before the end of the decade to close the digital divide. Yet industry leaders warn that a middle mile gap will remain if we aren’t careful.

Digital and Educational Equity: How States Plan to Partner with Educational Institutions

Digital equity cannot be fully realized without the participation of educational institutions, including K-12 public schools, community colleges, historically black and other minority serving colleges and universities, and extension programs. Many state digital equity plans embrace education and potential collaborations with educational institutions. All states acknowledge that digital equity is critical to education.

The Bad Business of BEAD

The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provides $42.45 billion in grant funding to states via the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program (BEAD). IIJA also underscores that any state receiving these funds may not exclude local governments from applying to use these funds to build their own broadband networks.

Newsom's Broadband Cuts

In order to balance the state’s budget, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed $2 billion in cuts to broadband projects that would have expanded internet access across the state. The move outraged digital equity advocates in Los Angeles who say it could jeopardize efforts to reach some of the most vulnerable groups in the area. About 200,000 LA County households don’t have internet. “We are disappointed to see this rollback,” said Cristal Mojica of the Michelson Center for Public Policy.