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12 more US States get digital equity, BEAD planning grants from NTIA

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has continued the fast pace of announcements of planning grants for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) and Digital Equity programs. The NTIA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced awards in 12 states.

The new planning grants total $75,743,527.14.

BEAD is a $24.45 billion program and Digital Equity is a $2.75 billion program. They both became law in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Each state and six territories have applied for the funding, and awards announced on a rolling basis.

The programs will be administered by the states, but each state must first have plans approved by NTIA that explain how the grants will be awarded. The planning funds are designed to enable a state to prepare its plans.

Specific activities that the BEAD planning grant funds can be used for include:

  • Identifying unserved and underserved locations to be addressed in the future.
  • Providing planning and capacity-building of broadband offices;
  • Conducting surveys of unserved, underserved, and underrepresented communities to develop an in depth understand of barriers to the adoption of high-speed Internet service;
  • Creating a more holistic representation of the state’s barriers to broadband adoption.

Specific activities that the digital equity planning funds can be used for include:

  • Create a state digital equity plan;
  • Conduct outreach, meetings and listening sessions with stakeholders, organizations and representative of communities disconnected from high-speed Internet service;
  • Analyze the impact of digital equity on the state’s outcomes for economic development, education, health, civic and social engagement, and delivery of essential services.

Last week, NTIA awarded digital equity and BEAD planning grants to Washington, Connecticut and eight other states. Telecompetitor

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