The National Telecommunications and Information Administration reviewed details of its Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program application and subgrantee process in a webinar on June 1, 2022.
The agency of the U.S. Commerce Department has been conducting a series of webinars on many aspects of the $42.5 billion BEAD program, as well as the agency’s companion programs on middle mile broadband deployment, and the Digital Equity Act. All of the funding was authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Bide on November 15, 2021.
For the BEAD program, eligible entities include states and territories who receive funds. In turn, they are responsible to distribute them to subgrantees to carry out eligible activities.
Subgrantees include co-ops, nonprofits, public private partnerships, private companies, utilities, public utility districts, or local government.
Eligible entities must lay out a plan for the competitive process they will use to select subgrantees in their initial proposal. These plans are due within 180 days of receiving a receipt of the notice of available amounts for each state.
Following a challenge process in which subgrantees can challenge mapping data, each eligible entity must initialize a competitive subgrantee selection process. NTIA does not mandate any specific approach but urges fairness where “eligible entity is not selection to self-administer programs.”
Each subgrantee will be required to submit semiannual reports that include the type of project, duration of the subgrant, and other details of the project. .
They will also be responsible to uphold three programmatic requirements, network capabilities of speeds greater than 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) down * 20 Mbps up, deploy and begin service no later than four years after subgrant is received, and offer a low-cost option which will be determined by states and territories.
Eligible entities are required to consider all types of subgrantee, ensure subgrantee accountability, equitable and nondiscriminatory distribution of funds, fair labor practices and climate resiliency.