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Get Early Details on IIJA/BEAD Funding Programs

Randy Sukow

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Funding Landscape: Now and Expected Graphic

A reminder to all NRTC members: There’s still time to register for “Funding Landscape: Now and Expected,” an NRTC webinar set to begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time this Thursday, Dec. 9. It will be a chance to get the latest information on broadband funding opportunities from experts at NRTC, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The webinar will be an early opportunity to learn more about the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, a part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) President Biden signed last month. Like other legislation supporting broadband construction earlier this year, distribution of BEAD funds will require coordination between states and the federal government and formation of public private partnerships. NRTC Funding Services is tracking the NTIA processes and state program deadlines.

The dollar amounts available through BEAD will be much greater than any other broadband programs to date. The Administration says its goal is complete elimination of the rural digital divide.

The Thursday webinar will be a useful starting point for learning more about BEAD and other broadband IIJA funding programs. NTIA, which will administer the BEAD program, has announced a series of five webinars lasting through mid-February 2022. Along with details about BEAD, the sessions will cover topics including “the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, and the Digital Equity Act Programs, which include the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program and Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program.”

NTIA has opened registration for the first webinar on Wednesday, Dec. 15. All five sessions will be at 2:30-4 p.m. Eastern Time.

Update, Dec. 22 – NRTC hosted the webinar “Funding Landscape: Now and Expected” on schedule. The distinguished panel including Brian Ford, director of Industry Affairs for NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association; Anna Reed, senior officer for Pew Charitable Trust’s Broadband Access Initiative and Amanda Martin, a telecommunications policy analyst for NTIA. See the recording now available online for the many pieces of advice they offered for those investigating the many current federal and state funding programs. NTIA’s Martin particularly pointed to the series of webinars to explain the BEAD program. NTIA has posted a recording of the first session it hosted on Dec. 15 (see below) along with a copy of the slide presentation (PDF) and session transcript (PDF). It plans to hold four more sessions on Jan. 12, Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and Feb. 23.

NRTC’s next webinar, “Partnerships: Public/Private and Electric/Telco” is set for Jan. 13. Scheduled panelists from NRTC members Smithfield Fiber and MiEnergy Co-op along with consulting firm CTC Technology & Energy will give a first-hand perspective on the many types of rural broadband partnerships. Register today.

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