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Alabama, Arizona and Missouri Governments Offer Picks for Broadband Dollars

October 16, 2009 – The states of Alabama, Arizona and Missouri released their lists of recommendations for broadband stimulus grants to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Friday, October 16, and they each took very different approaches to the selection process.

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October 16, 2009 – The states of Alabama, Arizona and Missouri released their lists of recommendations for broadband stimulus grants to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Friday, October 16.

In Alabama, a five-page recommendation came from the Alabama Broadband Initiative, which urged that the federal government fund 41 projects. In their letter, the commission said that its recommendation meant that its review committee deemed that “ (1) the project will meet a broadband infrastructure need within the State; (2) the project will increase the use of broadband technology within the State to better serve our citizenry; and/or (3) the project will provide public access to computers within underserved areas of the State.” The initiative also said that “infrastructure projects within the State are our number one priority.”

In Arizona, the three-page recommendation came from the State of Arizona Government Information Technology Agency, and it recommended 21 projects. Without any commentary, the recommendation rated projects within the middle mile, last mile, public computing centers and sustainable adoption categories as either “exceptional,” “outstanding,” or “deserving of funding consideration.”

In Missouri, a 10-page letter from Gov. Jeremiah W. Nixon articulated a detailed framework for bringing more comprehensive broadband to the state. The state put forward 16 projects in its recommendations.

In the portions of this story included below as premium content, BroadbandCensus.com provides links to uploaded copies of the letters of the Alabama Broadband Initiative, Gov. Jeremiah W. Nixon of Missouri, and of the State of Arizona Government Information Technology Agency, to the NTIA. The Missouri letter is also available on the MoBroadbandNow wiki.

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Alabama

The letter to NTIA from the Alabama Broadband Initiative: btop-recommendations-from-state-of-alabama

Arizona

The letter to NTIA from the Arizona Government Information Agency: arizona

Missouri

The letter to NTIA from Gov. Jeremiah W. Nixon of Missouri: missouri_recommendations_btop_round_1

“The recommendations we offer today in the Middle Mile and Last Mile categories are the result of a unique public-private partnership process,” said Gov. Nixon in his letter. “The most significant hurdle to a truly transformational – not merely incremental – expansion of broadband access throughout rural Missouri is the absence of a state-of-the-art, and truly ‘open access,’ Middle Mile infrastructure.”

“The ‘open access’ infrastructure Last Mile providers need – but lack in much of rural Missouri today – means [of] predictable, dependable access” to broadband, he continued.

Together with Sho-Me Technologies, LLC, the state of Missouri has forged a partnership to provide such “open access” infrastructure, including the deployment of 2,500 miles of new fiber-optic backbone, 200 new towers, and the creation of a fully “open access” infrastructure at the wholesale and retail levels.

Among the benefits of the partnership with Sho-Me Technologies, the state continued:

  • Access to approximately 300 rural communities along the fiber path, as well as reach into additional tower locations in areas surrounding the communities.
  • Adds 50+ rural county seats to a fiber-connected network.
  • Open access fiber and towers.
  • Highly reliable designs (network rings)
  • Drop-off points for additional towns and towers along or near the fiber path.
  • High capacity fiber and bandwidth supply options for Last Mile providers (critical for both wired and wireless providers as bandwidth to the end-user increases).
  • Puts fiber into areas where no fiber exists or fiber access is limited and not open-access.
  • Smartgrid enabler for Missouri rural electric cooperatives.
  • Provides the key portions of a statewide “open access” infrastructure that will enable low-cost access throughout rural Missouri for libraries and similar public service institutions; K-12 school districts and higher education institutions; healthcare providers and patients seeking remote healthcare services; public safety and intelligent transportation benefits.
  • Based on expected use over the next seven to ten years, the reduced costs to the State for the public service benefits made available through this proposal will produce savings equal to between 200 percent and 300 percent of the State’s initial matching funds investment.

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Funding

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.

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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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NTIA

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.

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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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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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