The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has revealed how it will divide the $42.5 billion earmarked within the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. Each of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, received funding. These “Eligible Entities” will have 180 days to submit initial proposals (accepted starting July 1, 2023) that describe what they plan to do with the money to improve broadband access.
Once NTIA approves these proposals, the recipients will be permitted to request access to at least 20% of their allocated funds. Texas ($3.3 billion), California ($1.9 billion), Missouri ($1.7 billion), Michigan ($1.6 billion), North Carolina ($1.5 billion), Virginia ($1.5 billion), Alabama ($1.4 billion), Georgia ($1.3 billion), Louisiana ($1.3 billion), Mississippi ($1.2 billion), Pennsylvania ($1.2 billion), Virginia ($1.2 billion), West Virginia ($1.2 billion), Florida ($1.1 billion), Alaska ($1.0 billion), Arkansas ($1.0 billion), Illinois ($1.0 billion), and Kentucky ($1.0 billion) all received at least $1 billion (all figures approximate).
“With today’s funding allocations, the Biden Administration has taken another major step in bringing high-performance broadband to all Americans,” said Grant Spellmeyer, president and CEO of ACA Connects, a trade organization that represents more than 500 smaller and medium-sized independent broadband services providers. “The ball is now in the states, and ACA Connects members – who already offer wireline broadband service to millions of households, including in rural communities – are eager to work with them to fulfill the promise of the BEAD program. Likewise, ACA Connects has worked actively with states for nearly a year to help them determine how to maximize use of these funds, and we look forward to continuing these efforts in the critical months ahead.”
“Today’s announcement is an important step towards connecting millions of unserved Americans with high-quality, future-proof broadband,”added Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association “This is a once-in-a-lifetime investment, and it is critical that we get the details right as we now enter critical stages of implementation. As states step even more into the driver’s seat, we must aim high in our connectivity objectives and continue working to ensure that funding is distributed to areas where it is needed most, streamline permitting processes so that providers can meet program deadlines, and find a path to a workable resolution on the Buy America provisions in the program. We also urge Congress to address taxation issues so that the full amounts awarded can be put to work in building networks and bridging the digital divide.”