NTIA Releases Permitting and Environmental Data Tool

The agency said it will be announcing additional permitting initiatives ahead of BEAD.

NTIA Releases Permitting and Environmental Data Tool
Screenshot of the NTIA Permitting and Environmental Information Application

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2024 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced on Monday a new tool for assessing the environmental and permitting requirements of potential broadband infrastructure deployments.

Called the NTIA Permitting and Environmental Information Application, the tool allows users to access information on federal, state, and Tribal land use, roads and railways, protected wetlands, and more in the form of map layers.

It’s intended for broadband providers to get a quick sense of the permitting requirements and environmental considerations for building in certain areas, the agency said in a statement.

“Identifying permit requirements early, initiating pre-application coordination with permitting agencies, and avoiding environmental impacts help drive successful infrastructure projects,” the NTIA wrote.

The agency also said it will be announcing “additional permitting initiatives to support federal broadband deployment projects” in the coming weeks.

In a disclaimer on the tool’s webpage, the NTIA notes that its application relies on publicly available data from federal, state, local, and Tribal governments, as well as some companies and research houses. The tool, the agency says, is not “an exhaustive or complete resource,” and is intended only for preliminary analysis.

The NTIA and other federal agencies have been working to streamline permitting processes ahead of infrastructure projects funded by the $42.5-billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. 

Last week, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation issued an amendment to its policies that will make it easier for federally funded projects to comply with federal law. The Federal Communications Commission has stood up a task force for the sole purpose of resolving disputes between broadband providers and utility pole owners that would otherwise gum up deployments.

NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson has said the NTIA is working with other federal agencies to streamline permitting in preparation for BEAD.

“This is a big issue that we know is coming in 2025 and 2026,” he told lawmakers at a house oversight hearing in December. 

The agency posted a tutorial for the new application onYouTube. 

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