National Telecommunications and Information Administration
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.
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.
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:
Broadband Funding: Stronger Management of Performance and Fraud Risk Needed for Tribal and Public-Private Partnership Grants
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, established two new broadband grant programs—the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) and Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP), administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) within the Department of Commerce. NTIA’s process generally aligned with recommended practices. However, NTIA’s current performance goals and measures will not tell the whole story of whether these programs succeed.
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.
Strategy for Equity in the Awarding of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Broadband Grants for the Lower Rio Grande Valley
I am pleased to provide the following recommendations for the Lower Rio Grande Valley for a regional strategy to gain equitable access to federal broadband funding under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
In response to Sen. John Thune's (R-SD) oversight letter on issues concerning federal broadband programs, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association writes:
The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration is developing guidance that will clarify how states should handle the process of distributing Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program funding. Addressing the US Conference of Mayors, NTIA Senior Adviser Sarah Morris said the agency is working to answer many state officials asking how they should manage the distribution of BEAD funding at the local level, including concerns over which projects are worth funding and how to find reliable data.