Fiber Broadband Association, NTCA Develop State Broadband Office Playbook

Broadband Infrastructure project aims to assist state broadband offices to leverage funding to deploy broadband infrastructure.

  • Fiber Broadband Association

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) and NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association today announced they will publish a Broadband Infrastructure Playbook to assist State governments as they seek to implement the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program and put funding to the best possible use in deploying broadband infrastructure. The playbook will provide a detailed overview of the statutory requirements associated with the new broadband infrastructure law, recommendations for best structuring a State broadband program, the benefits for consumers and communities of directing funds towards reliable future-proof fiber networks, and templates for State funding applications and the subsequent subgrant competitive award process. This guide will be published in early 2022 in advance of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Notice of Funding Opportunity, which is expected by May 2022.

The broadband provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocate $65 billion to expand broadband networks in underserved areas and provide more affordable services, and more than $42 billion is devoted specifically to promote broadband deployment. Each State, the District of Columbia and various Territories will receive a minimum of $100 million from the NTIA plus additional funding based on the number of unserved locations. The Act requires each State to coordinate with local governments and submit a five-year action plan as part of its proposal. The FBA and NTCA’s Broadband Infrastructure Playbook will provide resources, research and templates to help each State adopt the programs and processes that ultimately realize the best results in terms of broadband infrastructure.

“Federal broadband funding from the infrastructure law enables our industry to take an enormous step forward. We’re now in a critical time when States need to understand next steps and their requirements in both the short term and long,” said Gary Bolton, President and CEO at the Fiber Broadband Association. “Our playbook will be an educational tool for State governments to understand the many benefits of directing funds towards high-speed, future-proof fiber infrastructure and how to create successful broadband programs that will connect their communities to limitless potential.”

“State offices are poised to be central players in overcoming our nation’s remaining broadband challenges, and even the most prepared of them have significant work ahead. Whether they retrofit existing grant programs to comply with NTIA requirements or create completely new broadband programs, our playbook will be designed to help guide these efforts,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “This playbook will be instrumental in helping each State realize the promise of the BEAD program and build a better broadband future for everyone.”

The Broadband Infrastructure Playbook will leverage lessons from successful, established broadband programs and deployments to provide the following elements of best practices:

  • Overall program plan, sequencing and timing of activities
  • Recommendations on how States can best incorporate federal grant programs
  • Key process and information requirements (e.g., in the mapping of underserved areas, the management of the award process and post-award monitoring)
  • Organizational structure, scale and distribution of responsibilities
  • Interfaces with other State government departments and external bodies

The FBA and NTCA are also calling for States and broadband providers to participate in the research for the playbook and share lessons learned from earlier funding programs. States or broadband providers interested in participating in the FBA and NTCA research study, please contact playbook@fiberbroadband.org.  

The FBA and NTCA commissioned Cartesian, a global telecom, media and technology consulting firm, to conduct the research for the Broadband Infrastructure Playbook. Highlights from the playbook will be presented during a webinar in early 2022. To receive additional information about the webinar, please contact webinars@fiberbroadband.org.

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