Next Steps in the BEAD Process: The Notice Funding Amounts and Initial Proposals

By: Zac Byrd, Marketing Associate & Hailey Farrow, Marketing Manager on behalf of CostQuest Associates.

As the BEAD program is ramping up, the next phases coming down the pike are the Notice of Available Funding Amounts and the Initial Proposal. The highly anticipated release of the Notice of Available Funding Amounts will be a major step in the BEAD funding process, as it will kick off the start of the next phases of the program including the Initial Proposal and eventually the State Challenge Process. The NTIA will notify each Eligible Entity (states and territories) with an estimated amount of BEAD Program funds that will be made available to them.

This notice of funding amounts will be an invitation for Eligible Entities to submit their Initial Proposal, which will outline the entity’s objectives for:

  • Broadband deployment.
  • Coordination efforts with local and Tribal governments.
  • Identification of unserved locations.
  • Plans for competitive subgrant awards and more.

This is an imperative step for coming up with strategies that will help close the digital divide and accomplish widespread broadband accessibility. 

About the BEAD Funding Allocation Process

The NTIA has communicated that the second version of the National Broadband Map will be used as the basis for the NTIA’s Notice of Funding Amounts process to states and territories for the BEAD program. The BEAD Notice of Funding Allocations is expected to be released on June 30, 2023.

For every Eligible Entity (states and territories), their total allocation will be the sum of their Minimum Initial Allocation, High-Cost Allocation, and Remaining Funds Allocation. These figures are calculated as such:

“The ‘Minimum Initial Allocation’ for each State of the United States, the District of Colombia, and Puerto Rico is $100,000,000, and for American Samoa, Guam, The U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is $25,000,000,” (NOFO).

“The High-Cost Allocation’ for each Eligible Entity will be calculated by dividing the number of unserved locations in high-cost areas in the Eligible Entity by the total number of unserved locations in high-cost areas in the United States and multiplying the quotient obtained by $4.245 billion,” (NOFO).

“The funds remaining after subtracting the total Minimum Initial Allocations; and the total High-Cost Allocation from $41,601,000,000 are the ‘Remaining Funds’.

Each Eligible Entity’s Remaining Funds Allocation shall be computed by dividing the number of unserved locations in the Eligible Entity by the total number of unserved locations in the United States and multiplying the result of the remaining funds,” (NOFO).

Overview of the BEAD Initial Proposal

The BEAD Initial Proposal is the preliminary version of an Eligible Entity’s Final Proposal for grant funding. Its primary objective is to explain how the Eligible Entity plans to ensure that every resident has access to high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband connection. The proposal will detail their utilization of all resources, including the BEAD Program funds and others, to accomplish this goal.

The date that an Eligible Entity’s Notice of Available Amounts is released, the NTIA will notify the Entity to submit their Initial Proposal. Each Entity will have 180 days to submit its Initial Proposal, but it can be submitted earlier.

Above are the key upcoming dates for the BEAD Funding program. More information about the BEAD timeline can be found here.

Content of the Initial Proposal

The content of the Initial Proposal must:

  1. Outline the long-term objectives for deploying broadband, closing the digital divide, and addressing access, affordability, equity, and adoption issues. As well, enhancing economic growth and job creation. This includes information from the Eligible Entity’s Five-Year Action Plan and any comparable strategic plan.
  2. Identify and support local, Tribal, and regional broadband planning processes. As well as describe the coordination efforts with local and Tribal governments to highlight ongoing efforts to deploy broadband and close the digital divide.
  3. Clarify existing federally funded efforts within the Eligible Entity’s jurisdiction to deploy broadband and close the digital divide, including Tribal lands.
  4. Certify coordination efforts with Tribal governments, local community organizations, union organizations, and other groups. Describe the coordination conducted, ongoing efforts, and plans to fulfill requirements for the Final Proposal.
  5. Identify unserved and underserved locations using the most recent Broadband Data Maps at the time of submission, this includes Tribal lands. Identify the publication date of the Maps used for identifying.
  6. Describe how the Eligible Entity applied the term ‘Community Anchor Institutions’, identified eligible CAIs in its jurisdiction and Tribal lands, how their needs were assessed, and specify the type of CAIs it intends to serve. If proposing service to additional CAI categories, explain the basis for determining their impact on broadband service for vulnerable populations.
  7. Include a detailed plan for carrying out a challenge process as outlined here in the notice.
  8. Include a plan for competitively awarding subgrants for last-mile broadband deployment projects and other eligible activities. Explain how the Eligible Entity will ensure timely deployment and minimize the BEAD subsidy required. Also, establish an Extremely High Cost Per Location Threshold for subgrantee selection to maximize the use of the best available technology. The NTIA expects this threshold to be set as high as possible to ensure the deployment of end-to-end fiber projects where it is feasible.
  9. Explain any preferences for non-deployment-eligible activities using BEAD program funds, including the means of selecting initiatives, addressing the needs of residents, engaging with localities and stakeholders, and considering alternative uses of funds to achieve the BEAD program’s equity, access, and deployment goals.
  10. Include any proposed initiatives the Eligible Entity intends to implement directly as the recipient without making a subgrant and provide the rationale for this approach.
  11. Detail how the Eligible Entity will ensure strong labor standards and protections for subgrantees, contractors, and subcontractors, including compliance with the labor-related subgrantee selection criteria.
  12. Describe how the Eligible Entity will ensure the availability of a diverse and highly skilled workforce consistent with the requirements in the notice.
  13. Explain the strategy for recruiting, utilizing, and retaining minority businesses, women-owned business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms.
  14. Outline steps to reduce costs and obstacles to broadband deployment, promote the use of existing infrastructure, advocate & implement dig-once policies, streamline permitting procedures, and ensure cost-effective access to poles, conduits, easements, and rights of way.
  15. Conduct an evaluation of climate threats present within the Eligible Entity and propose mitigation strategies in line with the requirements of this notice.
  16. Describe the low-cost plan(s) that subgrantees must offer, in accordance with the outlines of this notice.
  17. Describe the intended use of the 20% funding allocation made available upon approval of the Initial Proposal.
  18. Disclose whether the Eligible Entity will waive certain laws pertaining to broadband, utility services, or similar subjects because they (1) restrict public sector providers from participating in the subgrant competition or (2) impose specific requirements on public sector entities. Specify any laws that will not be waived and explain how they will apply in the subgrant competition.
  19. Certify the Eligible Entity’s intent to comply with all applicable program requirements, including reporting obligations and outlining the subgrantee accountability procedures.

Additional requirements for the Initial Proposal may be provided to the Eligible Entities when the Notice of Available Amounts is released.

The NTIA is providing Eligible Entities with an online template for the Initial Proposal submission, and only one may be submitted.

A refresh on acceptable BEAD Funding uses

During the Initial Proposal process, Eligible Entities should note they may allocate grant funding for:

  1. Deploying/upgrading broadband network facilities in connection with an Unserved Service Project or an Underserved Service Project.
  2. Deploying/upgrading broadband network facilities to provide or improve service to an eligible community anchor institution.
  3. Data collection, broadband mapping, and planning activities to the extent necessary beyond the initial planning fund allocation to effectively achieve the goals of the BEAD program.
  4. Installing internet and Wi-Fi infrastructure or offering reduced-cost broadband in a multi-family residential building. Priority is given to a residential building with a significant number of unserved households or is in an area where the percentage of individuals with household incomes at or below 150% of the poverty line surpasses the national average.
  5. Broadband adoption.
  6. Training and workforce development.
  7. Other uses, including Digital Equity programs that have been proposed by the Eligible Entity and signed off by the NTIA to support the goals of the program.

The BEAD Initial Proposal review process

After receiving the Initial Proposal, the NTIA will acknowledge receipt and begin the review process in the order in which proposals are received. The review process is iterative and may require Eligible Entities to revise, update, or correct their Initial Proposal after submission.

Upon evaluating the Initial Proposal, the NTIA will assess the extent to which the proposed utilization of funds:

  1. Aligns with the provisions outlined in Section 60102(f) of the Infrastructure Act, which specifies the permissible uses of the funds allocated under the Act.
  2. Is in the public interest.
  3. Advances the intended goals and objectives of the Infrastructure Act.

Initial Proposal post-review actions


If it is determined that the Initial Proposal meets the standards set forth, NTIA will approve the Initial Proposal, inform the Eligible Entity, and make 20% of the Total Allocation available for the Eligible Entity. This amount could be higher and is at the sole discretion of the NTIA.

Upon completion of the challenge process and subgrantee selection process, the Eligible Entity may use these funds for deployment projects that:

  1. “Consist of at least 80 percent unserved locations; and
  2. Are in a location in which the percentage of individuals with a household income at or below 150 percent of the poverty line applicable to a family size involved that is higher than the national percentage of such individuals,” (NOFO).


If the Initial Proposal is deemed incomplete or fails to meet the established standards, the NTIA will notify the Eligible Entity of the identified concerns. The Entity will have an opportunity for resubmission within a specified deadline. Failure to resubmit an Initial Proposal that addresses the issues the NTIA outlined, will result in the Entity being treated as an application failure. The NTIA will then aid participating Eligible Entities during the revision process with the goal of each Entity having its Initial Proposal approved.


The Notice of Available Funding Amounts is just around the corner, coming up on June 30th, 2023, and once the notice of funding amounts is released, the Initial Proposal phase will kick off. Remember, the Initial Proposal should encompass a variety of key aspects that Eligible Entities must have approved by the NTIA before accessing the initial 20% funding allocation. The Initial Proposal will work to provide a comprehensive framework to foster broadband deployment, reach nationwide connectivity, promote digital inclusion, and bring Eligible Entities a step closer to receiving funding to help close the digital divide.



This communication does not reflect the opinion or the policy of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA is not responsible for the information or views in this communication and is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of such information or views.

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