Commerce Department’s NTIA Preparing to Distribute IIJA Broadband Funding

State allocations of BEAD funding will likely be announced by June 2023.

Commerce Department’s NTIA Preparing to Distribute IIJA Broadband Funding
Graphic courtesy of Workable used with permission

From the 12 Days of Broadband:

Despite passing the one-year anniversary of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November, the bulk of the law’s $65 billion ticketed for broadband projects has yet to be disbursed.

Grant processes for the IIJA’s flagship program, the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, will begin in earnest in 2023. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will apportion BEAD funds among the states based on relative need, and after receiving grants, the state governments will run sub-grant programs to finance broadband-deployment and related projects. The NTIA said in November that state allocations will likely be announced by June 30.

Download the complete 12 Days of Broadband report

Within 180 days of receiving notice of its BEAD allocation, each state must submit to the NTIA an “initial proposal,” describing the competitive subgrant process it intends to employ and other relevant factors. After submitting its proposal, each state must conduct a challenge process during which stakeholders may contest the funding eligibility of locations. NTIA will make available “not less than 20 percent of the total grant funds” once a state’s initial proposal is approved.

Next, each state must select subgrantees and submit a “final proposal” describing its compliance with its initial proposal. Both proposals must be made available for public comment. The NTIA will, after approving a state’s final proposals, release the remainder of that state’s BEAD grant. The deadlines outlined by the NTIA are such that the process will likely stretch well into 2024.

While the NTIA and state broadband offices prepare for the BEAD program to launch, other IIJA initiatives are in full swing. The Affordable Connectivity Program provides discounts of up to $30 per month — up to $75 per month on qualifying tribal lands — on service bills and boasts upwards of 15 million enrollees. The program is a favorite child of the White House, the Federal Communications Commission, and many industry advocates.

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