Maryland Announces BEAD Challenge Process

The challenge phase will begin on July 16.

Maryland Announces BEAD Challenge Process
Photo of Maryland state capitol

July 10, 2024 – Maryland announced on Monday that it will enter the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment program's broadband challenge process for state coverage maps on July 16. 

“This process will bring together internet service providers, units of local government, and non profit organizations throughout Maryland to further the goal of ensuring reliable broadband service across the entire state,” said the state’s Office of Statewide Broadband.

The challenge process allows nonprofits, local and Tribal governments, and internet service providers to submit evidence to challenge coverage claims made by state internet coverage maps. The map outlines where federal BEAD money will go to connect all unserved addresses in the state to high-speed internet.

Maryland's challenge process will open on July 16 and will close on August 15.

On Wednesday, the state received approval for its initial proposal. The approval makes the $267 million allocation to the state available for broadband builds. BEAD initial proposals outline various program aspects, including the subgrantee selection process and the state's plan to achieve universal coverage. It is split into two volumes. The first delineates the challenge process of state broadband coverage maps, and the second outlines how the state will conduct subgrantee selections.

All states submitted their initial proposals in December. The NTIA approved all state volume one proposals and is approving volume two on a rolling basis. One year from initial proposal approval, states will be required to submit a Final Proposal that details the outcome of the subgrantee selection process.

California opened its challenge phase on Monday. The challenge phase is the first stage in a five-stage, 120-day process to complete broadband coverage maps. California was awarded $1.86 billion through BEAD allocations. It has not yet received NTIA approval of its initial proposal.

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