Idaho Opens BEAD Challenge Process

The state was awarded $583 million from BEAD.

Idaho Opens BEAD Challenge Process
Photo of Mount Idaho by Charles Knowles on October 2020

June 5, 2024– Idaho announced that it opened its challenge process as mandated by the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment program on Monday.

The Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act’s BEAD program allocates $42.5 billion among states and territories to fund broadband expansion in areas that lack adequate connectivity. States submitted proposals for implementing the program to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration last year and the agency is in the process of reviewing and approving those plans.

Idaho's challenge process can now start because the first volume of its BEAD plan proposal was approved by the Commerce Department. The first volume details how the state plans on mapping those areas within its jurisdiction that are in need of improved internet access, and the challenges to those claims.

The NTIA awarded the state with $583 million to bring high-speed affordable internet access to its unserved and underserved areas.

The Federal Communications Commission’s coverage map, which has an ongoing challenge process of its own, was used to determine relative need and allocate program funds, but is not considered accurate enough to determine which individual homes and businesses lack broadband for the purposes of BEAD. States and territories will have the chance to incorporate updates from the latest version of the FCC map both before and after their processes.

The BEAD program requires that Idaho and other states create a challenge process during which residents, local governments, stakeholders and ISPs can challenge claims made by those state maps.

As part of this initiative, Link Up Idaho has provided an Idaho BEAD Broadband Map along with a Challenge Process portal, User Guide, Evidence Chart, Timeline, and Handout. Additionally, resources such as a Speed Testing Handout and Test Tool are available to support the effort. 

The challenge process will be open until Jul 1.

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