State budget includes $50 million for broadband deployment

Virginia’s recently passed law to speed broadband deployment to rural areas now has a financial component. Gov Glenn Youngkin’s (R-VA) signature on the General Assembly’s budget bill will move $50 million over two years from the general fund to the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative, or VATI. The new law, SB 713, is set to go into effect July 1.

Biden-Harris Administration Approves Pennsylvania’s “Internet for All” Initial Proposal

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has approved Pennsylvania’s Initial Proposals for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, a cornerstone of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative.

Michigan Broadband Officer Is Confident the State Can Achieve Universal Broadband

Eric Frederick, the Chief Connectivity Officer for the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office, is supremely confident. “I do believe it’s going to be enough,” he said when asked whether the $1.5 billion in Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding allotted to the state will be enough to get broadband to everyone. The healthy allocation leads Frederick to exclaim rather confidently that Michigan’s unserved and underserved will be largely connected with fiber.

NY Attorney General Letitia James Secures More Than $10 Million from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless for Deceptive Advertising

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D-NY) and a multistate, bipartisan coalition of 50 attorneys general secured more than $10.22 million from AT&T Mobility and its subsidiary Cricket Wireless; T-Mobile; and Cellco Partnership and its subsidiary TracFone Wireless for deceptively marketing wireless service plans for years.

AT&T loses key ruling in attempt to escape Carrier-of-Last-Resort obligation

AT&T's application to end its landline phone obligations in California is likely to be rejected by state officials following protest from residents worried about losing access to phone lines. An administrative law judge at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recommended rejection of the application in a proposed decision.

Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen Visits Comcast Stafford Rural Broadband Expansion Project

Despite the challenges we’ve faced, we’ve emerged stronger and poised for future growth. Investing in high-speed internet is an Administration-wide priority, with a goal of connecting every American by 2030. It’s a key example of our agenda to expand our economy’s capacity to produce in order to drive growth while increasing opportunity for people and places that haven’t had enough of it.

BEAD Report: Grading States’ Initial Proposals for Federal Broadband Funds

If all goes well, the $42.5 billion in BEAD funding that Congress allotted in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act should be enough to extend broadband coverage across the country. But it will depend on how states and territories use the money. The first half of 2024 is a critical juncture as states solicit feedback and approval of their Initial Proposals from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which administers the BEAD program.

BEAD Project Area Possibilities: Rules Vary a Lot from State to State

Rules for the $42.5 billion Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) rural broadband funding program give individual states considerable leeway in how they define project areas—and broadband providers applying for funding should expect to see considerable variation from one state to the next. Depending on the state, providers may even be able to define their own project areas. There is considerable variation among states that are allowing providers to define their own project area. For example, Louisiana established clusters of Hex9s, which the state calls sub project areas (SPAs).

Comcast does public-private broadband projects across footprint

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited a recently completed Comcast rural broadband project in Stafford County, Virginia, highlighting that this is a public-private project between Comcast and the county. The giant cable company is involved in public-private partnerships across its national footprint. For years cable operators such as Comcast, Charter and Cox have fought hard against municipal broadband projects, always crying that it’s wrong for taxpayer dollars to compete against their private investments.

States face a long winding road ahead for BEAD

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has said 2024 will be “the year of execution” for Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD). But the agency still has a ways to go in approving initial proposals for each state and territory. Louisiana was the first to get its plan approved in December.