Act Now to Challenge Proposed NTIA Rural Broadband Funding Areas
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) yesterday released the list of proposed service areas where applicants seek funding in the Broadband Infrastructure Program. Rural broadband providers should immediately check this list and inform NTIA if areas they already serve appear there. It is in everyone’s interest to prevent inefficient use of funds through overbuilding.
If an area already served appears in the list, current providers should notify NTIA by submitting information to BBInfra@ntia.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 19. Regions that receive speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up are “served areas” under the program. More specifics on eligible areas appear on pages 4-5 of the program’s Notice of Funding Availability (PDF).
During the response process, a provider may shield confidential commercial information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The provider can identify, bracket and mark such material as Privileged, Confidential, Commercial or Financial Information. Otherwise, NTIA will make responses public.
See the Proposed Service Area Response Submissions Guidelines (PDF) for more specifics about NTIA’s requests. Also refer to the Notice of Funding Availability for procedural specifics and format for filing a response. The procedures include how to submit maps of the disputed areas, preferably in shapefiles, .kmz, or .kml formats.