IIJA Application Webinars, NY Broadband Survey, Chinese LEO Broadband Satellites

The Commerce agency will hold pre-funding technical assistance hearings for infrastructure bill money starting this month.

IIJA Application Webinars, NY Broadband Survey, Chinese LEO Broadband Satellites
Photo of Scott Woods, director of the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives in the NTIA

March 8, 2022 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is having technical assistance webinars in preparation for applications for billions in infrastructure bill money for broadband.

The initial webinar will be on March 9, 2022 at 2:30 P.M. ET. There are four additional webinars scheduled for dates between March 23, 2022 and May 11, 2022. The notice of funding opportunity for IIJA money is scheduled for release this May.

According to the BroadbandUSA website, the webinars are meant to help prospective applicants understand — and assist applicants in applying for — the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, which sets aside $42.5 billion for the NTIA to disburse among states for broadband infrastructure.

The NTIA, an agency of the Commerce Department, and various state agencies are in charge of implementing the IIJA, and will implement a number of programs such as the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program and the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.

The agency recently held “listening” sessions to get perspective from the public about criteria for money from the IIJA.

New York residents encouraged to take broadband survey

Local government officials in Chautauqua County, New York are encouraging residents to take part in a broadband assessment survey to help with broadband mapping.

This survey will be part of the public input needed to “study the reliability and affordability of high-speed broadband infrastructure throughout New York State,” according to a Monday press release.

The county has recently approved funding from its American Rescue Plan Act funding allocation to build out broadband infrastructure in the county.

PJ Wendel, Chautauqua county executive, said that county officials “hope to have a really large response rate so that we can demonstrate to New York State that we are in need of additional broadband infrastructure to serve our population more equitably, and this will supplement our ARPA allocation.”

The survey is open to residents until March 18, 2022.

China launches broadband satellites

GalaxySpace, a Chinese space startup company, recently launched six low earth orbit broadband satellites in an effort to eventually offer the nation’s first LEO broadband communication test constellation.

According to a Sunday report from the Global Times, a state-sponsored publication, these six broadband communication satellites “will form China’s first LEO broadband communication test constellation together with the first satellite of GalaxySpace, and build a satellite-ground fusion 5G test network, codenamed ‘Mini-spider Constellation,’ capable of providing communication services for more than 30 minutes each time.”

The very first broadband communication satellite was launched on January 16, 2020.

This comes after China’s Tiangong space station lodged an informal complaint against SpaceX when satellites from both companies nearly collided in December.

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