The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said Aug. 17 that all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, have filed applications for initial planning funds under the program. equity, access and deployment of broadband (BEAD). which aims to distribute $42.4 billion in broadband-related subsidies to underserved and unserved communities.
The BEAD program is part of the Biden administration’s Internet for All initiative.
The NTIA, which is part of the Commerce Department, said it will “evaluate applications and make awards available as quickly as possible.”
After receiving initial planning funds, the next step in the process for states and territories is to submit a five-year action plan to the NTIA that will help flesh out their broadband goals and priorities, and will also function as a comprehensive needs assessment. . This action plan is due within 270 days of receipt of planning funds.
The NTIA said planning funds can be used for a range of tasks, including:
- Research and data collection;
- Support for publications, outreach and communications;
- Provide technical assistance to potential sub-recipients;
- Training for employees of a broadband program;
- Establish, operate or increase the capacity of a broadband office;
- Map to catalog broadband adoption, affordability, equity, access and deployment activities; and
- Conduct surveys of unserved, underserved and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to adoption.
“The Internet for All initiative will provide states and territories with the resources they need for thorough planning, which is essential to ensure that funding is used equitably, effectively and efficiently,” said Alan Davidson, Secretary Commerce Assistant for Communications and Information, in a statement. Press release.
“I want to thank every state and territory for meeting our deadline so that we can close the digital divide as quickly and completely as possible,” he said.