On March 9, staff from NTIA’s Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth held the first technical assistance webinar prior to the release of the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act broadband programs. On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. This Act includes a significant investment of $65 billion to help close the digital divide and ensure that all Americans have access to reliable, high speed, and affordable broadband.
Moderated by Scott Woods, Director of Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives, NTIA, members of the OICG team provided a primer on broadband technology and economics, giving details on the basics to building a network. In addition to the panelists below, Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson provided a welcome and opening remarks for the webinar. Panelists included:
- Sarah Bleau, Broadband Program Specialist, NTIA
- Mike Tibodeau, Telecommunications Policy Analyst, NTIA
Bleau presented an overview of the Internet’s architecture, including the core backbone, middle mile, and last mile as well as its infrastructure (active and passive). Business model and technology options were also presented.
Last Mile Technologies Include:
- Fiber-optic cable
- Hybrid Fiber Coaxial
- Digital Subscriber Line
- Fixed Wireless Access
- TV White Space
- Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite
- Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) Satellite
Tibodeau presented on network economics, providing an overview of the cost factors for broadband deployment and network maintenance. This includes unserved and underserved areas, capital expenditure, operational expenditure, revenue, economic sustainability, brownfield use, and start-up costs.
During the question-and-answer component of the webinar, panelists answered questions regarding a variety of technical and programmatic topics.
NTIA’s pre-NOFO technical assistance webinars are designed to help prospective applicants understand NTIA’s IIJA broadband grant programs and to assist applicants to prepare high quality grant applications. To view video recording, transcript, and presentation materials for our primer on broadband technology and economics, please visit the past events page. Please register for our next scheduled Pre-NOFO Technical Assistance webinar on March 23.