Evan Feinman’s Journey from Regional Tobacco Revitalization to Director of BEAD

Feinman is also architect of the BEAD matching funds program: He will keynote BEAD Implementation Summit on September 21.

Evan Feinman’s Journey from Regional Tobacco Revitalization to Director of BEAD
Photo courtesy Evan Feinman.

WASHINGTON, September 19, 2023 – Evan Feinman has spent over a decade in public service, with most of that time being spent working to expand broadband access.

Now the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, he is overseeing the disbursement of over $42 billion federal funds to get more Americans broadband. NTIA is part of the U.S. Commerce Department.

He will be the keynote speaker at Broadband Breakfast’s BEAD Implementation Summit on Thursday, September 21, 2023. The event will feature four panels of state broadband office heads, officials from other federal grant programs, and others in the broadband space to discuss implementing the program.

A Virginia native, Feinman got his start in government as the state’s deputy secretary of natural resources before heading the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

That post involved stimulating economies in former tobacco-growing parts of the state, including laying over 3,000 miles of fiber-optic cable to get reliable, high-speed internet to unserved areas.

“I very early in my life found that occupation without a service component just didn’t make a lot of sense to me,” he said at an event in the broadband community earlier this year. “I’m very happy to work hard when there’s something bigger than me and my bank account at stake.”

Top broadband advisor to Virginia governor

Starting in 2018, he then spent over three years as then-Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s chief broadband advisor, where he worked on the state’s goal to get universal broadband access to its residents by 2024.

The state’s work there has been a roadmap for others to follow as they establish their broadband offices. Virginia developed under Feinman a broadband map and toolkit to evaluate internet access within its borders.

Virginia has continued to set the bar for state broadband offices, becoming the first state to release volume two of its BEAD initial proposal on August 25 – far ahead of the December 27 deadline.

In his current role at the NTIA, he is facilitating partnerships between the agency, state broadband offices, and internet service providers.

Architect of the BEAD matching funds program

He is also the architect of BEAD’s matching fund program. The program requires 25 percent of grant awards to be matched by states or providers.

At the broadband community event, Feinman highlighted the potential to use other federal funds as sources of matching capital, especially those left over from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, set up with the  American Rescue Plan Act as a response to the pandemic.

“One of the best things that can happen here is a locality uses some of its Recovery Act funds to support an ISP in generating match for a project,” he said during a Broadband.money event on “Where’s The Funding?” “There will be places where the economics are simply not good. There are very few, if any, ISPs that are charitable enterprises.”

He also noted that any state, charity, and foundation funds are also eligible for meeting the matching requirement.

The BEAD Implementation Summit will take place at Clyde’s of Gallery Place at 707 7th Street NW, Washington. Registration is available for $245, and includes access to the videos of the event.

Register now to hear what federal and state government officials, plus industry and non-profit groups, have to say about the next steps in the broadband funding effort. In addition to discounts on events and access to premium videos, Broadband Breakfast Club members have access to comprehensive monthly exclusive reports that delve into key topics.

Register for the BEAD Implementation Summit on September 21, 2023.

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