The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published a notice on the Federal Register on Jan. 10 looking for input on how to best distribute over $48 billion in new broadband funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.
NTIA is responsible for distributing more than $48 billion of the $65 billion allocated by the bipartisan infrastructure act to help close the digital divide and expand affordable, reliable broadband access.
“This notice is part of NTIA’s strategy to engage with partners and other stakeholders to help meet the President’s goal to close the digital divide. This is a historic investment, and it requires not only a whole-of-government effort, but a whole-of-country effort,” NTIA said. “This notice seeks public comment to bolster NTIA’s work and to improve the number and quality of ideas under consideration as the agency develops Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) for each of the broadband grant programs to be implemented by NTIA pursuant to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
Specifically, NTIA offered 36 questions for the public to respond to, including the important query: What criteria should states and territories have to meet to receive funding?
Additionally, the notice seeks comments on three programs NTIA will establish as directed by the infrastructure act: The Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, the Middle-Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, and the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program.
Comments are due by Feb. 4, 2022. In addition to submitting comments, stakeholders can also attend a series of public virtual listening sessions hosted by NTIA.