NTIA Releases Notices of Funding Opportunity for Broadband Programs
On May 13, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) for more than $44 billion in federal funding to the following three programs: (1) The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program ($42.5 billion); (2) The Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program ($1 billion); and (3) The State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program ($60 million). Additional details about these three grant programs are below.
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) ($42.5 billion)
The BEAD is the single largest broadband investment in United States history and lays the groundwork for widespread access, affordability, equity, and adoption of broadband services. The BEAD NOFO outlines the state/territory submission process, the types of projects that will qualify, the way subgrantees (vendors/carriers) will be selected, and the timing of awards and deployments.
A summary outlining the BEAD Program is available here.
Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant (MMG) Program ($1 billion)
The MMG NOFO provides $1 billion in funding for the construction and improvement of middle mile infrastructure. The purpose of the program is to expand and extend middle mile infrastructure to reduce the cost of connecting areas that are unserved or underserved to the internet backbone. MMG is largely an extension of the BEAD program above and includes many of the same requirements.
A summary outlining the MMG Program is available here.
State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program ($60 million)
The Digital Equity Planning NOFO implements one part of a larger set of programs designed to identify and address barriers to digital equity and support digital inclusion. Significantly, NTIA expressly requires a digital equity plan as a part of state Five-Year Action Plans under the BEAD program.
A summary outlining the Digital Equity Planning Program is available here.
If you are interested in additional information about these Notices of Funding Opportunity, please contact any of the authors listed on this alert for more information.