NTIA Awards More Planning Grants, 10 GHz Band for Fixed Wireless, WISPA Warning on Digital Discrimination Inquiry

The NTIA approved eight more planning grants Monday.

NTIA Awards More Planning Grants, 10 GHz Band for Fixed Wireless, WISPA Warning on Digital Discrimination Inquiry
Louis Peraertz, WISPA's vice president of Policy, via WISPA

December 12, 2022 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said Monday that eight states have been awarded planning grant funds through the Internet for All initiative.

The planning grants are used for data collection, mapping, and feasibility studies to help develop internet expansion projects, according to the NTIA, that will be funded via the $42.5 billion available from the Commerce agency’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program.

Alabama received $6 million, Arizona received $6.1 million, Maryland received $5.9 million, Minnesota received $5.8 million, Montana received $5.6 million, New York received $$7.2 million, Tennessee received $6 million and Wisconsin received $5.9 million.

Most recently, 12 states received planning grants last week. This includes Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Seventeen other states have also received this grant previously, including Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Puerto Rico.

FCC urged to open 10 GHz band for commercial use

A letter signed by 242 internet service providers and sent to the FCC last week backs a coalition request for the Federal Communications Commission to open for commercial use 500 megahertz of the 10 GigaHertz (GHz) band.

The Coordinated Sharing Coalition, which consists of Cambium Networks, Public Knowledge, Open Technology Institute, and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, in October pushed the FCC to release that sliver of spectrum for fixed wireless broadband providers.

In a letter last week, the 242 ISPs noted the increased demand for wireless services, said it has received signatures from 242 ISPs supporting the need for the FCC to initiative a proposal on the matter.

“We urge the Commission to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the earliest possible time so that a complete record on the proposed rule changes can be developed,” the letter said.

WISPA urges caution on digital discrimination inquiry

WISPA urged the FCC to take the “totality of the circumstances” when it looks at why certain areas of the country are not served with broadband infrastructure.

In March, the FCC started a proceeding to eliminate digital discrimination by telecommunication providers and asked the public for comment.

In a letter Friday, WISPA argued that, “any finding of discrimination” should “be based on ‘the totality of the circumstances,’ not just the disparate impact or disparate treatment of a protected class. All relevant factors regarding legitimate rationale and business decisions should be taken into consideration, especially for small providers that have deployed affordable broadband where larger carriers have not found a business case to invest.”

In November, advocacy group Next Century Cities wrote a letter to the FCC addressing the need to eliminate digital discrimination. It emphasized that the FCC must address discriminatory patterns on its impacts on disadvantaged communities.

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