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NTIA

Diversity of Broadband Projects Should Trump Fixed Division of Grant Funds, Say Commenters

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 – The federal government’s disbursal of funds for broadband grants should be fluid and flexible enough to fund the best projects, irrespective of category, according to submissions to the NTIA on Thursday, April 9.

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Editor’s Note (4/19) – The complete BroadbandCensus.com List of NTIA Comments is now available at http://broadbandcensus.com/2009/04/the-broadbandcensuscom-list-of-ntia-comments

The BroadbandCensus.com List of NTIA Comments aims to include all substantive comments filed between March 10 and April 15 on the NTIA web site. For a growing number of comments, BroadbandCensus.com has provided a brief summary of the contents of the comment.

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 – The federal government’s disbursal of funds for broadband grants should be fluid and flexible enough to fund the best projects, irrespective of category, according to submissions to the NTIA on Thursday, April 9.

The volume of comment submissions to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration continued to rise as Monday, April 13, the due date for comments, approaches.

Underscoring the stakes involved in this round of comments, the NTIA confirmed Thursday that there will not be a round for reply comments. “We are going to go right to the rules” after the comments deadline, said agency spokesman Mark Tolbert.

In its filing, Granite Broadband said that no hard and fast percentage of funds should be apportioned to each category, since each state will have different priorities. The track record and existing relationship between an applicant and the community they will serve should be part of the application weighting process. Projects that leverage existing public and private assets should be given priority, and projects should be viable and sustainable after stimulus funds disappear. NTIA should not contract with one group to create the national broadband map, said Granite Broadband. Rather, this should be done on a state level, either by NTIA or by a contractor. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=DB05ECBF-BD87-4B8D-B4EF-0158857FABC7

In a Thursday comment, Wireless Communications Association International agreed with previous commenters’ suggestion that wireless networks should be built out in unserved and underserved areas.

WCAI said that “unlike fixed services, mobile wireless broadband provides mobility.” Mobile broadband has the potential to produce both good mobile and good broadband. NTIA should give “substantial consideration” to the states, but not delegate all power to them. Finally, mobile wireless and fixed wireless should also constitute separate product markets. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=3584C5B5-9F89-4FA9-B0AD-241E72AAB810

The group also submitted its comments a second time in the Adobe PDF format, at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=F25DE927-B543-4231-A6D3-3275B25360F4

The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) highlighted the problems that disabled Americans face. Broadband adoption among disabled populations is significantly below average The NTIA should take this into consideration when ranking projects, the group said. COAT “expects applicants for the funds to involve people with disabilities through collaborations and partnerships.” http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=BE20D0EA-8282-4CED-9216-9503B9D164D0

The Regional Fiber Consortium said that it will be counterproductive to divide the funds for different purposes. Funds should be awarded on a competitive basis. They also said: states should not create their own criteria, but follow those set by Congress; broadband mapping must be done below the census tract level. Mapping at the census tract level – which is only slightly less granular than the ZIP code level – would skew actual broadband availability. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=BAB612A4-86BB-4093-AC14-1E614A3B3560

JAB Wireless defined an unserved area as one in which service of at least 3 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds are not available. An underserved area is an area where there are not two or more providers who can provide 3 Mbps downloads. Projects that can provide short turnaround, and those that provide a least cost solution should be prioritized in the scoring process, the group said. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=D2BE5026-1979-44AE-9CAF-67D852637B77

Spacenet, a satellite provider, recommended that NTIA offer a coupon program, such as they did with DTV, in order to overcome startup costs with satellite broadband. Spacenet pointed out that satellite broadband service is already available in rural areas. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=827CA38B-F86B-41C8-BFC4-1897AEA6E283

Juan Eugenio Rodríguez de Hostos, chief information officer of the territory of Puerto Rico, requested that NTIA take a holistic approach to the stimulus. When establishing priority for funds, NTIA should look to state’s broadband plans, to ensure the best solution. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=DBA3CDEB-5953-4679-9F7C-1F5534B79285

The San Antonio Public Library wrote to emphasize the importance of libraries and the public computing centers they house. The definition of underserved should contain a library component, where rural areas without a public library within 10 miles, or an urban area where there is not a library within four miles are considered underserved. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=710063DC-727B-4442-8C85-F6264E8878E9

The City of Beverly Hills, Calif., also requested that no hard percentage of grants should be apportioned to any category. Projects should meet multiple goals, when possible, and should be given to those with “a proven record of successful implementation projects on budget and on-time,” said the city. The national broadband map should be at the county level, at a minimum, and ideally at the municipal level. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=DD07C1DB-1B83-4267-AD18-35E6D8FB4295

Broadband Breakfast Club

Don’t miss the opportunity to register for the April 14, 2009, Broadband Breakfast Club at the Old Ebbitt Grill. The theme of the April meeting will be, “Spending the Stimulus: Can States’ Front-line Experiences Expedite Broadband Deployment?” Register at http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com.

Confirmed speakers include Karen Jackson, Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance, Commonwealth of Virginia; Betty Ann Kane, Chairman, D.C. Public Service Commission; and Sue A. Suleski, Technology Investment Specialist and Program Manager for the Pennsylvania Broadband Initiative.

Funding

State Broadband Offices Need to Increase Their Capacity, Improve Data, and Communicate Well

NTIA’s Evan Feinman spoke about what states need to keep in mind as they prepare for BEAD funds.

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Photo of Evan Feinman from AEI

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2022 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration webinar event on Tuesday focused on the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Notice of Funding Opportunity. The webinar highlighted three important items to keep in mind as states begin to receive money for broadband planning.

The first, according to Evan Feinman, deputy associate administrator for BEAD, was for states to consider your office’s capacity. Each state will receive a minimum of $100 million. Very few states have the human resources required to adequately run a program of this magnitude, he said.

The second is to build up research and data collections of broadband coverage at a state level. The Federal Communications Commission will soon release a new mapping system. It will be necessary, said Feinman, to “engage meaningfully” with these maps using state’s own research and data. Furthermore, states should have the necessary data to engage with internet service providers and the NTIA as they determine who is served and unserved.

Third, states should develop a clear-cut plan for outreach and communication support with stakeholders. Stakeholders include telecom providers, tribal governments, local governments, and community organizations.

The planning step is a great point for stakeholders to become involved in the process, said Feinman. “There is an expectation that lives throughout this program that folks are going to engage really thoroughly and in an outgoing way with their stakeholders.”

See other articles on the NTIA webinars issues in the wake of the Notices of Funding Opportunity on the Broadband.Money community:

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FCC

Treasury Department Joins FCC, USDA and NTIA in Collaborating on Broadband Funding

Agency leaders sign pact to formalize information-sharing on broadband deployment projects.

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Photo of Janet Yellen from January 2018 by the European Central Bank

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2022—Just in advance of the deadline for the release of the funding requirements under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, the four principal federal agencies responsible for broadband funding released an interagency agreement to share information about and collaborate regarding the collection and reporting of certain data and metrics relating to broadband deployment.

The agencies are the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Commerce Department, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The Memorandum of Understanding is the latest development in federal efforts to coordinate high-speed internet spending, and the Treasury Department is the new addition to agreement.

The other three agencies signed a prior memorandum in June 2021 to coordinate the distribution of federal high-speed internet funds. That June 2021 Memorandum of Understanding remains in effect.

The respective Cabinet and Agency leaders announced that their agencies will consult with one another and share information on data collected from programs administered by the FCC, the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, programs administered or coordinated by NTIA, and Treasury’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

“No matter who you are or where you live in this country, you need access to high-speed internet to have a fair shot at 21st century success. The FCC, NTIA, USDA and Treasury are working together like never before to meet this shared goal,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Our new interagency agreement will allow us to collaborate more efficiently and deepen our current data sharing relationships[and] get everyone, everywhere connected to the high-speed internet they need.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “When we invest in rural infrastructure, we invest in the livelihoods and health of people in rural America. High-speed internet is the new electricity.  It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, to have access to health care and to stay connected.”

“USDA remains committed to being a strong partner with rural communities and our state, Tribal and federal partners in building ‘future-proof’ broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage across the country.”

“Our whole-of-government effort to expand broadband adoption must be coordinated and efficient if we are going to achieve our mission,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and head of the NTIA, the agency responsible for administering the vast bulk of the broadband funding.

“This MOU will allow us to build the tools we need for even better data-sharing and transparency in the future,” he said.

“Treasury is proud to work with our federal agency partners to achieve President Biden’s goal of closing the nation’s digital divide,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen.  “Access to affordable, high-speed internet is critical to the continued strength of our economy and a necessity for every American household, school, and business.”

As part of the signed agreement, each federal agency partner will share information about projects that have received or will receive funding from the previously mentioned federal funding sources.  More information on what the interagency Memorandum of Understanding entails can be found on the FCC’s website.  The agreement is effective at the date of its signing, May 11, 2022.

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FCC

FCC and NTIA Chiefs Name Jessica Quinley, Douglas Brake and Timothy May to Advisory Committees

NTIA representatives to join FCC technology and security committees, FCC rep on spectrum committee

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Photo of Doug Brake from Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2022—Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson on Friday named staff representatives to participate on each other’s advisory committees. The effort is a component of the Spectrum Coordination Initiative of the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Commerce Department.

As part of the initiative, the agencies are working with each other and the private sector.

“To succeed as spectrum partners, the FCC and NTIA must hear from and listen to each other in both formal and informal ways,” said Rosenworcel.

“A common understanding of spectrum engineering and market conditions is essential for the success of our efforts at the FCC and NTIA to manage the country’s spectrum resources,” said Davidson.

Rosenworcel named Jessica Quinley of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to participate as an observer in NTIA’s Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee. Quinley currently serves as an Acting Legal Advisor in the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. She was an attorney at NTIA for more than four years.

Davidson named Douglas Brake, a Spectrum Policy Specialist, and Timothy May, a Senior Advisor, to participate in the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council and its Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, respectively.

Brake, a Spectrum Policy Specialist with NTIA, previously directed the broadband and spectrum policy work at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.  May currently serves as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary where he has worked for four years.  Before joining NTIA, he was a Policy Analyst in the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

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