Broadband is an essential component of modern life and a requirement for economic growth, education, health care, and public safety. Maximizing broadband coverage and meaningful use is an imperative for national and individual success. The BroadbandUSA program, housed within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), serves state, local, and tribal governments, industry, and nonprofits that seek to expand broadband connectivity and promote digital inclusion. BroadbandUSA promotes planning and funding efforts through solution-neutral guides and resources, hosting local and regional planning workshops that offer opportunities to convene with broadband stakeholders across the country, the National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM), and promoting interagency coordination.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), located within the Department of Commerce, is the Executive Branch agency principally responsible by law for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for continued innovation and economic growth. These goals are critical to America’s competitiveness in the modern global economy and to addressing many of the nation’s most pressing needs, such as improving education, health care, and public safety. In addition to working with other Executive Branch agencies to develop Administration positions, NTIA represents the Executive Branch in both domestic and international telecommunications and information policy activities. NTIA is also a leading source of research and data on the status of broadband availability and adoption in America.
NTIA Broadband Grants
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 legislation directed NTIA to implement three new grant programs:
- Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. A $1 billion program directed to tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.
- Broadband Infrastructure Program. A $300 million broadband deployment program directed to partnerships between a state, or one or more political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service to support broadband infrastructure deployment to areas lacking broadband, especially rural areas.
- Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. A $285 million grant program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to fund the purchase of broadband internet service and eligible equipment or to hire and train information technology personnel.