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From Dark Fiber to Satellite, NTIA Commenters Push Wide Variety of Technologies

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2009 – Among the commenters weighing in on the Commerce Department’s broadband technologies grants on Thursday, April 2, and Friday, April 3, several echoed the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ proposal for a state role in allocating funds.



WASHINGTON, April 6, 2009 – Among the commenters weighing in on the Commerce Department’s broadband technologies grants on Thursday, April 2, and Friday, April 3, several echoed the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ proposal for a state role in allocating funds.

And in new filings, several businesses offering potentially innovative proposals urged a variety of different ways and platforms upon which the federal government to leverage stimulus funds.

Zhone Technologies said it wanted the program to focus on job creation, and requests that the goals for the program can only be met by “careful and appropriate consideration of the actual American labor content.”  Zhone noted that infrastructure is labor and equipment intensive, with as much as 60% of project costs going to equipment elements.  With “American content” of equipment varying widely, a close look must be taken in order to meet the overarching goals of the stimulus plan.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio pointed out the challenges facing both Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service.  Last week NARUC laid out a detailed proposal for guaranteeing a state role.

NTIA must continue to oversee the DTV transition and RUS has existing programs in place that they must manage.  With these existing commitments in place, the states must play a key role in the stimulus, the state said, as did NARUC.  Ohio requested that the states be able to use their first-hand experience within their borders to rank the project applications, with criteria specified by RUS and NTIA as guidance.

By allowing the states an active part of the process, resources for both states and the federal government will be saved.

The Kansas Corporation Commission fully supports NARUC’s position, also filed on Friday.  Kansas specifically points out NARUC’s proposal to allow states to “opt-in” and receive funds to create two to four full-time job equivalents to review applications as a way to quickly allow states and the federal government to partner.

PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, and the DAS Forum, a membership section of PCIA, said they have “a significant interest in the framework of broadband stimulus grant programs” since wireless broadband service is currently being provided by four or five carriers, with more on the way.  Each carrier requires “approximately 35,000 wireless facilities to deploy a nationwide broadband service.”

Broadband grants would “transform…unsustainable business models into positive business cases for wireless infrastructure,” allowing a higher level of roll-out than previously possible.  PCIA defines “underserved” as an area “in which there is only one provider of ubiquitous wireless broadband service,” and “unserved” as any area where “no wireless broadband service is available.”

Several individual commenters stated that “dark fiber” should be targeted first.

The Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce encourages NTIA to “quickly, efficiently, and transparently disburse the stimulus funding to states” and to be careful to not create “bureaucratic stipulations and barriers that will make it difficult for states to acquire these much needed funds.”

AlphaStar requested that the Federal Communications Commission be actively involved in the proceedings, specifically with the FCC’s expertise with small cap and minority owned businesses.  AlphaStar proposed a hybrid model involving terrestrial broadband and satellite backhaul.  Broadband funds would allow AlphaStar, who first rolled out this network in 2000, to roll out this network in unserved and underserved areas as sought by the fiscal stimulus measure.

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

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.

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After FCC Map Release Date, NTIA Says Infrastructure Money to Be Allocated by June 2023

The NTIA urged eligible entities to submit challenges to the FCC’s broadband map by January 13, 2023.



Photo of NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson, in January 2015 used with permission

WASHINGTON, November 10, 2022 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said Thursday its intention to announce allocations from the $42.5-billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program by June 30, 2023.

The announcement comes on the heels of the FCC announcing Thursday that a preliminary draft of the commission’s national broadband map will be released and available for public challenge on November 18, which was required for the NTIA to begin moving the broadband infrastructure money out of the door to the states. The challenge process is the primary mechanism to correct for errors in the map’s data.

Don’t miss the discussion about “What’s the State of IIJA?” at Digital Infrastructure Investment–Washington on November 17, 2022: Nearly one year into the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, what is its state of implementation? How are state broadband offices feeling about the pace of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration? What are they doing to prepare for it? How big of a jolt to the broadband industry will the IIJA be?

“The next eight weeks are critical for our federal efforts to connect the unconnected,” said NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson. “The FCC’s upcoming challenge process is one of the best chances to ensure that we have accurate maps guiding us as we allocate major…awards in 2023. I urge every state and community that believes it can offer improvements to be part of this process so that we can deliver on the promise of affordable, reliable high-speed internet service for everyone in America.”

To ensure public input is considered in the allocation process, the NTIA urged eligible entities Thursday to submit challenges to the FCC’s national broadband map – the dataset that will shape the distribution of BEAD grants – by January 13, 2023.

To promote a robust challenge process, the NTIA said it will offer technical assistance to state governments, informational webinars to the public, and regular engagement with state officials to identify and resolve issues.

Clarification: A previous headline said the NTIA would “finalize” money by June 2023. In actuality, the NTIA will initially announce BEAD “allocations” by June 2023, then eligible entities must submit proposals to the NTIA for approval before the money is fully disbursed, which could be sometime after June 2023. 

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Speaking at AnchorNets, NTIA’s Alan Davidson Touts Role of Anchor Institutions

‘Community-anchor institutions have been and are the connective tissue that make delivering high-speed internet access possible,’ he said.



John Windhausen and Alan Davidson (right) at AnchorNets 2022.

CRYSTAL CITY, Va., October 14, 2022 – States will be required to work with local communities on broadband programs as unprecedented funding initiatives roll out from the federal government, said Alan Davidson, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

“It’s critical that the states are being guided by as many local voices as possible,” said Davidson, addressing the AnchorNets 2022 conference Friday morning. The NTIA, an arm of the U.S. Commerce Department, will ensure state broadband plans are informed by community input, he added.

Davidson also emphasized the role local institutions can play in boosting connectivity and the importance of federal adoption and affordability initiatives, such as the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Project.

“Community-anchor institutions have been and are the connective tissue that make delivering high-speed internet access possible,” Davidson said.

The NTIA’s broadband policies are “about more than just a connection, more than just access,” Davidson argued. “A wire to somebody’s home… doesn’t help them if they can’t afford to get online.”

The NTIA will administer the rollout of tens of billions of dollars in broadband funding, the majority of which – $42.45 billion – is from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program. BEAD funding will be granted to each state government based on relative need, and the states will distribute sub-grants to contractors.

John Windhausen, executive director of the SHLB Coalition – the host of AnchorNets 2022 – praised Davidson’s remarks.

“Alan Davidson’s comments really recognized that the anchor institutions can play a role in several different aspects of solving the digital divide,” Windhausen told Broadband Breakfast.

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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.



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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