Feds Likely to Maintain Oversight of Infrastructure Bill Fund Disbursement

NTIA is likely to continue to oversee the $42.5 billion for broadband from the IIJA.

Feds Likely to Maintain Oversight of Infrastructure Bill Fund Disbursement
Screenshot of Jade Piros de Carvalho, director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development, taken from BBLO event.

WASHINGTON, December 21, 2021 – At a Broadband Breakfast event earlier this month, the director of the office of minority broadband initiatives at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said the agency will maintain oversight of money from the infrastructure bill to communities, rather than giving complete autonomy to states.

Scott Woods also emphasized the need to tailor NTIA approaches to each individual state, as each state possesses vastly different capability for fund disbursement based on existing state programs such as extensive mapping by Georgia’s government. Each state is expected to receive a minimum of $100 million from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which allocates $65 billion to broadband and was signed into law in mid-November.

Woods sat down in conversation with Ready and Broadband Money CEO Jase Wilson and Broadband Breakfast’s editor and publisher Drew Clark for an in-person panel event, which can be rewatched here.

Woods said the NTIA’s localized approach will rely heavily on better broadband maps.

He said that currently, the government needs more information from internet service providers on where they provide service and at what speed. Additionally, he said there is a need for key demographic data in order to create comprehensive broadband maps that will help inform agency policy and investments.

Wilson said that geospatial tools are also central to the work his business does to connect local service providers to funding and resources.

Woods noted that it is not possible for the federal government alone to perform the entire operation of IIJA fund disbursement and that it will rely on partnerships with the private sector, philanthropic organizations, communities as well as state and local governments.

Wilson highlighted how local service providers are more engaged bodies to partner with for service expansion in communities as opposed to larger providers due to the greater financial motivations among smaller providers to increase consumer access.

The NTIA will use the input of partnered stakeholders such as the aforementioned philanthropic organizations and private sector entities to shape a Notice of Funding Opportunity that the agency will release for its Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, said Woods.

The Senate Commerce Committee recently advanced the nomination of President Joe Biden’s pick to head the NTIA, Alan Davidson. If confirmed, Davidson is sure to play a key role in implementation of the IIJA.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the December 8, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 12 Noon ET — Implementation of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act

The passage of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act on November 5, 2021, represents a significant opportunity for the broadband industry. This includes the providers of high-speed internet service as well as those that seek to enhance the deployment of better broadband. But many questions remain about the details of implementing the IIJA on both the federal and the state levels. In this special “Broadband Breakfast for Lunch” IN PERSON and LIVE ONLINE event, we’ll explore the perspective of the lead federal government agency charged with implementing IIJA’s broadband provision, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. We’ll also consider the important role of state broadband officials in the next phase of IIJA implementation.

Join us IN PERSON on Wednesday, December 8, at Broadband Breakfast Club for Lunch!

There are two ways to participate in this event: IN PERSON or LIVE ONLINE. To attend in person, sign up to attend in person through Eventbrite. Please arrive for lunch at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C., by 11:30 a.m. to be seated for lunch. The program will begin promptly at 12 Noon ET.

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • Scott Woods, Senior Broadband Program Specialist, NTIA
  • Jase Wilson, CEO, Ready / Broadband Money
  • Other guests have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

Grants Overview, from Scott Woods, by BroadbandUSA

As a Senior Broadband Program Specialist with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA), Scott Woods serves as the Team Lead for the Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) Pilot Program, a new grant program to provide $268 million in direct funding to expand broadband access, connectivity and digital inclusion to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs) and the anchor communities upon which these institutions serve. Mr. Woods also serves as the principal liaison between the BroadbandUSA program office and key strategic partners and external stakeholder groups, including representatives from state and local governments; broadband service providers; for-profit and non-profit corporations; telecom trade associations; community representatives and organizations, and colleges/universities.

Jase Wilson is co-founder and CEO of Ready / Broadband Money, a software, data and financial services firm devoted to helping local ISPs connect more people to better broadband. He lives in the SF bay area with his wife and their son Wafer, aka WWW.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

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