BEAD funding is now available to expand broadband

It’s official folks, NTIA released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.

A total of $42.5 billion is now available for States and U.S. Territories to apply for to support the expansion of broadband services to unserved and underserved locations across the U.S.

The BEAD funding program is available to support activities such as:

  • Broadband planning
  • Deployment
  • Mapping
  • Equity
  • Adoption activities

What we’ll cover:

  • Who is implementing?
  • Who can apply for BEAD grants?
  • How much funding can I receive?
  • How will funding be distributed?
  • Where do I apply?
  • What do I need to do to apply for BEAD funding?
  • What due dates should I keep an eye on?
  • What broadband projects is the BEAD program prioritizing?

Who is implementing the BEAD program?

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce.

Who can apply for BEAD funding?

All fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, as well as U.S. Territories can apply for grants from the BEAD program.

How much funding can I receive?

“Each State is eligible to receive a minimum allocation of $100,000,000. They may request up to $5,000,000 of its minimum allocation in Initial Planning Funds.”

“U.S. Territories are eligible to receive a minimum allocation of $25,000,000. Each of those territories may request up to $1,250,000 of its minimum allocation in Initial Planning Funds.”

*Note:

After the broadband coverage maps have been published (FCC’s Broadband DATA Maps), NTIA will then use these maps to determine the number of unserved locations in every State and Territory. NTIA will notify eligible entities of their total funding allocations. Funding allocations calculated in accordance with Sections 60102(c)(1) and (c)(3) of the Infrastructure Act, and inclusive of the minimum initial allocation and Initial Planning Funds.

CostQuest Associates was awarded the FCC’s Broadband Serviceable Location contract to help solve location accuracy issues and provide the foundational data to support a National Broadband Map (FCC’s Broadband DATA Maps). See the full press release to learn more about CostQuest and the FCC’s Fabric.

How will BEAD funding be distributed?

“Funding will be distributed based on the relative number of “unserved” locations (broadband serviceable locations that lack access to reliable broadband service at speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream and latency level low enough to support real-time, interactive applications) in each State and U.S. Territory.”

Where do I apply?

Complete Letters of Intent, Requests for Initial Planning Funds, Five-Year Action Plans, Initial Proposals, and Final Proposals all can be submitted through NTIA’s online application portal.

What do I need to do to apply for BEAD funding?

Below are the steps Eligible Entities must take to apply for grants from the BEAD program.

What due dates should I keep an eye on?

  • Completed Letters of Intent ————- July 18th, 2022
  • Request for Initial Planning Funds —— August 15th, 2022
  • Initial Proposal ——————————— Due 180 days after NTIA formally notifies eligible entities their formula allocations
  • Final Proposal ———————————- Due 365 days after the approval of the Initial Proposal

What broadband projects is the BEAD program prioritizing?

The BEAD program will prioritize projects that are designed to deliver fiber connectivity directly to the end user. The program’s primary focus is on deploying broadband service to unserved locations (those without any broadband service at all at 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream/3 Mbps upstream) and underserved locations (those without broadband service offering speeds of 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream).

“NTIA has a strong preference that Eligible Entities also ensure deployment of gigabit connections to community anchor institutions such as libraries and community centers that lack such connectivity.”

*Note:

  • This program will prioritize projects that are designed to deliver a fiber connection directly to the end user.
  • All projects are required to offer a low-cost option to eligible subscribers.
  • All States must have plans to address middle-class affordability.
  • This program will also prioritize proposals that improve service affordability – since these networks are being built using taxpayers’ dollars. This is to ensure service affordable and available to access by all Americans.

MORE ABOUT the IIJA’s BEAD PROGRAM

What is Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program?

The Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program (BEAD), is a grants program from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to provide support for:

  • Broadband planning
  • Deployment
  • Mapping
  • Equity
  • Adoption activities

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is in charge of administering the BEAD funding program. A total of $42.45 billion dollars is available under the BEAD program with the goal to “lay critical groundwork” for:

  • Widespread access, affordability, equity, and adoption of broadband
  • Create good-paying jobs; grow economic opportunities, including for local workers
  • Provide increased access to healthcare services
  • Enrich educational experiences of students
  • Close long-standing equity gaps, and
  • Improve the overall quality of life across America

Source

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Disclaimer

This communication does not reflect the opinion or the policy of the Federal Communications Commission and NTIA. The FCC and NTIA are not responsible for the information or views in this communication and are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of such information or views.

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