The National Telecommunications and Information Administration webinar on May 19, 2022, focused on the application process for Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, which makes available $1 billion for constructing, improving, or acquiring middle-mile infrastructure.
Sarah Bleau, broadband program specialist at NTIA, said that eligible entities include government offices, utility companies, and non-profits that provide internet services to Americans.
To be selected, programs must undergo a “merit review” to determine project purpose, benefits, and sustainability. The review designates point values to various features and scores a project out of 100 possible points.
Due to the competitive nature of the grant, “the quality of the application is the most important” thing to consider, Bleau said. Understanding the Notice of Funding Opportunity is central.
She also highlighted the importance of coordination with state offices in understanding the individual needs of the community.
Bleu highlighted the importance of demonstrating how an individual project will align with the program’s goal to bring affordable, high-speed internet to all Americans. “It is beneficial for applicants to demonstrate the likelihood of reducing end-user prices by funding middle mile infrastructure.”