On April 28 and 29, staff from NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program presented an overview of the Broadband Infrastructure Program, a $300 million program to encourage 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.
Sarah Bleau, Broadband Program Specialist with NTIA, provided an overview of the program’s provisions, including key definitions, eligible projects and partnerships, and timelines. Applications for the program will require descriptions of the covered partnership, project, service area, and any other federal and state support received. Priority will be given to projects meeting certain criteria around number of households served, number of inhabitants in the service area, cost-effectiveness, rurality, and speeds provided.
Gilbert Resendez, Broadband Program Specialist with NTIA, covered NTIA and BroadbandUSA’s efforts to convene and coordinate state-level broadband decision-makers and other federal agencies around broadband programs and policies. The state and federal pages on BroadbandUSA’s website, for example, provide one-stop shops for resources on state broadband efforts, federal funding programs, and permitting policies, as well as a channel for communication and review of policies between federal agencies and states.
Using lessons learned through technical assistance work, including working with communities to build out broadband network and digital inclusion efforts, BroadbandUSA has developed several resources available to prospective applicants for broadband planning purposes. Karen Perry, Senior Policy Analyst with BroadbandUSA, pointed to several of the resources available, including:
- NTIA’s Broadband Planning Roadmap
- Digital Inclusion resources
- Data resources (See February 2021 and June 2020 BroadbandUSA webinars)
Perry also described data resources made available through other agencies and organizations, including census data and speed test data, all of which may be utilized to complement community data and aid in planning efforts.
NTIA anticipates accepting grant applications for the program in Summer 2021. April’s Broadband Infrastructure Deployment webinar was part of a series focused on NTIA’s new broadband grant programs. Please visit BroadbandUSA’s website for: