Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information. See below.
WASHINGTON, August 13, 2009 – The federal government announced on Thursday that it is extending the deadline for electronic applications seeking money to be used for U.S. broadband development, as agency servers have been slow to respond to their unusually heavy load.
The deadline for applications for the Broadband Initiatives Program and the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program has been extended to 5 p.m. ET, on Thursday, August 20, so long as the applications are pending in the Easygrants System on the application closing deadline of 5 p.m. ET, on Friday, August 14.
The deadline for paper applications continues to be tomorrow.
Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein issued a statement Thursday saying the Easygrants application system has experienced “service delays due to the volume of activity from potential applicants.”
The RUS and the National Telecommunications Information Administration, which oversee the grant process, have added servers to address the capacity issues, he said.
Brad Ramsay, the general counsel for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, said Wednesday during a webinar hosted by Governing.com that California and other states have been recommending that applicants file early this week because of concern over the ability of the Web site taking applications to handle them all.
“One person was telling me that the Web site was already abysmally slow as of Monday,” he said.
Successful.com founder Craig Settles last week urged the applicant community to push for a deadline extension because it “benefits communities, local governments and their private sector partners, but the gist of it is this. You reduce the chance of good projects being deep-sixed due to lack of time.”
He also argued that it would give the National Telecommunications Information Administration more time to train, and install management systems for the anonymous volunteer panelists who’ll influence which proposals make the first cuts in the approval process.
An applicant must have completed the following steps to be recognized as having a pending application in the Easygrants system:
1. Log into the system at www.broadbandusa.gov;
2. Select “Start a new application” under “Apply for a new grant/loan;”
3. Select one of the two choices for available funding opportunities;
4. Select “Continue;” and
5. Select “OK” when prompted “Are you sure you want to apply for the program.”
The Recovery Act appropriated $7.2 billion and directed the Agriculture Department’s RUS and The commerce Department’s NTIA to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the United States, increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure and provide long-term economic benefits.
2:03 p.m. ET – Commerce Department spokesman Mark Tolbert confirmed that, while the BIP and BTOP applications have been delayed until August 20, the deadline for states and non-profit entities designated by the state to apply for up to $240 million in broadband data funds remains unchanges: Friday, August 14, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Tolbert said that the delay for BIP and BTOP was necessary because of the large volume of traffic flooding Commerce and Agriculture Department servers. As to mapping applications also taking place electronically, he said, “It hasn’t been determined that the situation was needed for that [a change in deadline for mapping applications].”
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.
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:
Treasury Department Joins FCC, USDA and NTIA in Collaborating on Broadband Funding
Agency leaders sign pact to formalize information-sharing on broadband deployment projects.
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.
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
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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