Commerce Department’s NTIA Issues Request for Comment on IIJA

Comments are due on February 4, 2022, focused on the infrastructure grants, middle-mile program, and digital equity planning grants.

Commerce Department’s NTIA Issues Request for Comment on IIJA
The U.S. Department of Commerce

WASHINGTON, January 7, 2022 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Commerce Department on Friday released its 14-page request for public comment on the Infrastructure, Investment Jobs Act of 2021.

Comments are due on February 4, 2022, at 5 p.m. ET.

Signed into law on November 15, 2021, by President Joe Biden, the law provides $65 billion towards improving broadband infrastructure. The vast bulk of the funds, or $48.2 billion, will be administered by NTIA’s Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth.

“This unprecedented investment in closing the digital divide requires input from a wide range of voices to assist NTIA’s efforts in the design and implementation of the new grant programs,” Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Evelyn Remaley said Friday in a statement.

The NTIA is looking for input from industry stakeholders related to three specific broadband infrastructure grant programs within the IIJA: (1) The Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program, (2) the Middle-Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, and (3) the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program.

In their announcement, the NTIA said that it planned to seek additional comment later on the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program and the Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program.

The NTIA also said that it would provide a distinct opportunity for tribal entities to share their recommendations on the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program during a future Tribal consultation.

Interested parties can also register for listening sessions to learn more about the programs in question.

Wireless Internet Service Providers Association President and CEO Claude Aiken was the first industry group with a press release. He said that WISPA was “excited that this process has begun in earnest and [looks] forward to helping the NTIA create a framework that is technologically inclusive, fair and equitable, and which places as its highest priority affordable and evolutionary internet access for the unserved.”

To participate in a Public Debate on January 21, 2022, “Who Should Get the $65 Billion in Broadband Grants?,” join the discussion on Broadband.Money.

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