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This Section explains the process NTIA will employ to approve applications, notify successful and unsuccessful applicants of the process’s results, and various legal obligations applicable to grant recipients (including, but not limited to, those relating to domestic procurement preferences (“Buy American” requirements) and contracting with small and minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms).
The Assistant Secretary, or the Assistant Secretary’s designee, will submit the applications recommended for funding, along with the bases for the recommendation, to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Grants Officer, who serves as the Grants Officer for the BEAD program. The final approval of selected applications and the issuance of awards will be made by the NIST Grants Officer. The award decisions of the NIST Grants Officer are final.
An applicant will be notified in writing by the NIST Grants Officer if its application is selected for an award. If the application is selected for funding, the NIST Grants Officer will issue the grant award (Form CD-450), which is the authorizing financial assistance award document. By signing the Form CD-450, the recipient agrees to comply with all award provisions, terms, and conditions.
If an applicant is awarded funding, neither NTIA nor NIST is under any obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with that award or to make any future award(s). Amendment of an award to extend the period of performance is at the discretion of NTIA and the NIST Grants Officer.
As detailed in Section VI.A of this NOFO, Eligible Entities will be notified if either the Initial Proposal or Final Proposal is not approved by the Assistant Secretary and given a chance to resubmit the proposal.
Unsuccessful applications will be retained in accordance with NTIA recordkeeping requirements.
Grant recipients will comply with applicable statutes and regulations, including but not limited to:
Through 2 C.F.R. § 1327.101, the Department of Commerce adopted Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 C.F.R. Part 200, which apply to awards in this Program. Refer to http://go.usa.gov/SBYh and http://go.usa.gov/SBg4.
The Department of Commerce will apply to each award in this Program, the Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions in effect on the date of award. The current version, dated November 12, 2020, is accessible at Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions. Refer to Section VIII of this NOFO (Federal Awarding Agency Contact(s)) if you need more information.
The Department of Commerce will apply the Pre-Award Notification Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements dated December 30, 2014 (79 FR 78390), accessible at http://go.usa.gov/hKkR. Refer to Section VIII of this NOFO (Federal Awarding Agency Contact(s)) if you need more information.
Awarding agencies are required to analyze the potential environmental impacts, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (54 U.S.C. § 300101 et seq.) for Eligible Entity proposals and awardee projects and other eligible activities seeking funding under the BEAD Program. Eligible Entities with projects or other eligible activities containing construction and/or ground-disturbing activities are required to submit all required environmental documentation to NTIA with their Final Proposals, which also must describe how they will comply with applicable environmental and national historical preservation requirements. It is the Eligible Entity’s and subgrantee’s responsibility to obtain all necessary federal, Eligible Entity, and local governmental permits and approvals necessary for the proposed work to be conducted. Projects and other eligible activities are expected to be designed so that they minimize the potential for adverse impacts on the environment. Eligible Entities also will be required to cooperate with NTIA in identifying feasible measures to reduce or avoid any identified adverse environmental impacts of their proposed projects or other eligible activities. The failure to do so may be grounds for not making an award. Proposals will be reviewed to ensure that they contain sufficient information to allow agency staff to conduct a NEPA analysis so that appropriate NEPA documentation can be
submitted to NTIA, along with the recommendation for funding of the selected projects or other eligible activities. If additional information is required after an application is accepted for funding, funds can be withheld by NTIA under a specific award condition requiring the awardee to submit additional environmental compliance information sufficient for the agency to make an assessment of any impacts that a project or other eligible activity may have on the environment.
In accordance with 2 C.F.R. § 200.316, any real property, equipment, or intangible property acquired or improved with a federal award must be held in trust by the Eligible Entity or subgrantee as trustee for the beneficiaries of the project, other eligible activity, or program under which the property was acquired or improved. This trust relationship exists throughout the duration of the property’s estimated useful life, as determined by the Grants Officer in consultation with the Program Office, during which time the federal government retains an undivided, equitable reversionary interest in the property (Federal Interest). In this connection, NTIA may require the non-federal entity to record liens or other appropriate notices of record to indicate that personal or real property has been acquired or improved with a federal award and that use and disposition conditions apply to the property. Awards issued pursuant to this NOFO may contain specific award conditions pertaining to the use and disposition of grant-acquired property and to a requirement that the recipient or subgrantee file certain public notices (e.g., UCC-1, Covenant of Purpose, Use and Ownership, etc.) with respect to grant-acquired property. NTIA will provide information regarding the useful life schedules associated with assets acquired with grant funds.
In accordance with 2 C.F.R. § 200.316, any real property, equipment, or intangible property acquired or improved with a federal award must be held in trust by the Eligible Entity or subgrantee as trustee for the beneficiaries of the project, other eligible activity, or program under which the property was acquired or improved. This trust relationship exists throughout the duration of the property’s estimated useful life, as determined by the Grants Officer in consultation with the Program Office, during which time the federal government retains an undivided, equitable reversionary interest in the property (Federal Interest). In this connection, NTIA may require the non-federal entity to record liens or other appropriate notices of record to indicate that personal or real property has been acquired or improved with a federal award and that use and disposition conditions apply to the property. Awards issued pursuant to this NOFO may contain specific award conditions pertaining to the use and disposition of grant-acquired property and to a requirement that the recipient or subgrantee file certain public notices (e.g., UCC-1, Covenant of Purpose, Use and Ownership, etc.) with respect to grant-acquired property. NTIA will provide information regarding the useful life schedules associated with assets acquired with grant funds. quality; or (3) the inclusion of iron, steel, manufactured products, or construction materials produced in the United States will increase the cost of the overall project or other eligible activities by more than 25 percent. Consistent with the waiver principles detailed in Sec. 70921(b)(1) of the Build America, Buy America Act and the Buy America Guidance, the Secretary will seek to minimize waivers, and any waivers will be limited in duration and scope. In determining whether a product is produced in America, subgrantees must comply with definitions included in Section 70912 of the Build America, Buy America Act, which provides that a manufactured product is considered produced in the United States if the manufactured product was manufactured in the United States and the cost of the components of the manufactured product that are mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States is greater than 55 percent of the total cost of all components of the manufactured product, unless another standard for determining the minimum amount of domestic content of the manufactured product has been established under applicable law or regulation. In addition to the provisions above, subgrantees may not use BEAD funding to purchase or support any covered communications equipment or service, as defined in Section 9 of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 (47 U.S.C. § 1608). Additionally, the Infrastructure Act expressly prohibits subgrantees from using BEAD funding to purchase or support fiber optic cable and optical transmission equipment manufactured in the People’s Republic of China unless a waiver of this requirement is received from the Assistant Secretary. Waivers of the ban on Chinese-made fiber will be based on a demonstration from the Eligible Entity that application of this prohibition would unreasonably increase the cost of or delay the project or other eligible activities. Waiver applicants will need to provide concrete evidence of this circumstance and will be held to a high burden of proof. Waiver policy in this case will be guided by the same principles set out in Section 70921(b)(1) of the Build America, Buy America Act, meaning that the Assistant Secretary will be disposed against waivers. In addition, NTIA will consider any national security issues particular to Chinese-made fiber, and even where domestic production is not feasible, will be reluctant to waive the ban if another foreign supplier could meet the need at similar cost.
Minority Businesses Enterprises (MBEs) and Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) are major catalysts for economic growth and job creation. However, data shows that MBEs and WBEs historically face significant contracting disparities compared to other businesses. Pursuant to 2 C.F.R. § 200.321, Eligible Entities must take all necessary affirmative steps to assure that minority businesses, women's business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms are used when possible. Affirmative steps must include:
Eligible Entities are strongly encouraged to establish MBE and WBE utilization plans consistent with their Initial and Final Proposals.
Both Eligible Entities and subgrantees will be required to comply with reporting requirements. In addition to the reporting requirements found in 2 C.F.R. Part 200, NTIA will provide additional reporting instructions in connection with the requirements set forth in this Section, including details on the manner and format that Eligible Entities will be required to report information in support of federal agency obligations under the ACCESS BROADBAND Act, 47 USC § 1307, and Infrastructure Act § 60105.101
Not later than 90 days after receiving any Program grant funds, for the sole purposes of providing transparency and providing information to inform future federal broadband planning, an Eligible Entity shall submit to the Assistant Secretary an initial report that (i) describes the planned and actual use of funds; (ii) describes the planned and actual subgrant process; (iii) identifies the establishment of appropriate mechanisms by the Eligible Entity to ensure that all subgrantees of the Eligible Entity comply with the eligible uses prescribed under the BEAD Program and (iv) includes any other information required by the Assistant Secretary.
Not later than 1 year after receiving grant funds under this Section, and semiannually thereafter until the funds have been expended, an Eligible Entity shall submit to the Assistant Secretary a semiannual report, with respect to the 6-month period immediately preceding the report date, that tracks the progress the Eligible Entity is making against its approved plans. Any such report should include, at a minimum, the following information: (i) a description of how the Eligible Entity expended the grant funds; (ii) a description of each service provided with the grant funds and the status of projects or other eligible activities supported by such funds; (iii) a description of the locations at which broadband service was made or will be made available using the grant funds, the locations at which broadband service was utilized, and the comparative demographics of those served; and (iv) a certification that the Eligible Entity complied with the requirements of this Section and with any additional reporting requirements prescribed by the Assistant Secretary. The semiannual report must also include an SF-425 and a Federal Financial Report and must meet the requirements described in 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.328 and the Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions (dated November 12, 2020), Section A.01 for Financial Reports. The semiannual report shall contain information as prescribed in 2 C.F.R. § 200.329.
Not later than one year after an Eligible Entity has expended all grant funds received under this Section, the Eligible Entity shall submit to the Assistant Secretary a final report that (i) describes how the Eligible Entity expended the funds; (ii) describes each service provided with the grant funds; (iii) describes the locations at which broadband service was made available using the grant funds, the locations at which broadband service was utilized, and the comparative demographics of those served; (iv) includes each report that the Eligible Entity received from a subgrantee under Section 60102(j) of the Infrastructure Act; and (v) certifies that the Eligible Entity complied with the requirements of this Section and with any additional reporting requirements prescribed by the Assistant Secretary.
As noted below, an Eligible Entity must also make every report submitted to it by a subgrantee available to NTIA upon request.
The recipient of a subgrant from an Eligible Entity under this Section shall submit to the Eligible Entity a regular reporting, at least semiannually, for the duration of the subgrant to track the effectiveness of the use of funds provided. Each report shall describe each type of project and/or other eligible activities carried out using the subgrant and the duration of the subgrant. Eligible Entities may add additional reporting requirements or increase the frequency of reporting with the approval of the Assistant Secretary and must make all subgrantee reports available to NTIA upon request. In the case of a broadband infrastructure project, the report must, at minimum:
Subgrantees must maintain sufficient records to substantiate all information above upon request.
The Assistant Secretary will provide the information collected under Section I.E.2 of this NOFO, and such other Program information as is necessary, to the Commission, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Treasury, and any other federal agency that funds broadband deployment, to be used, as applicable, in determining whether to award funds for the deployment of broadband under any program administered by those agencies.
In accordance with Section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended, see 41 U.S.C. § 2313, if the total value of a recipient’s currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all federal awarding agencies exceeds $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of an award made under this NOFO, then the recipient shall be subject to the requirements specified in Appendix XII to 2 C.F.R. Part 200,103 for maintaining the currency of information reported to SAM that is made available in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) about certain civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings involving the recipient.
2 C.F.R. Part 200, Subpart F, adopted by the Department of Commerce through 2 C.F.R.
§ 1327.101 requires any non-federal entity that expends federal awards of $750,000 or more in the recipient’s fiscal year to conduct a single or program-specific audit in accordance with the requirements set out in the Subpart. Additionally, unless otherwise specified in the terms and conditions of the award, entities that are not subject to Subpart F of 2 C.F.R. Part 200 (e.g., commercial entities) that expend $750,000 or more in grant funds during their fiscal year must submit to the Grants Officer either: (i) a financial related audit of each DOC award or subaward in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards; or (ii) a program- specific audit for each award or subaward in accordance with the requirements contained in 2 C.F.R. § 200.507. Eligible Entities and its subgrantees are reminded that NTIA, the Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General, or another authorized federal agency may conduct an audit of an award at any time.
In accordance with 2 C.F.R. Part 170, all recipients of a federal award made on or after October 1, 2010, are required to comply with reporting requirements under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Pub. L. No. 109-282). In general, all recipients are responsible for reporting sub-awards of $30,000 or more. In addition, recipients that meet certain criteria are responsible for reporting executive compensation. Applicants must ensure they have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements should they receive funding.104