At NTIA and the Department of Commerce, we are focused on expanding the use of broadband and spectrum, strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity defenses, improving public safety communications, and helping American workers and businesses compete in the 21st century.
President Biden’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year, released on Friday, is designed to support these goals. The President’s budget calls for increased investments to better secure the telecommunications supply chain, expand high-speed broadband access and adoption, and increase advanced wireless research to power future generations of technology.
The overall FY 2022 budget request for NTIA is $89.5 million, which covers 189 positions.
Securing the Supply Chain
The President’s budget asks for a total of $15.6 million for NTIA’s domestic and international policy programs, which work to preserve a free and open Internet that can serve as an engine for economic growth.
The request includes an additional $4 million to allow NTIA to contribute to securing the information and communications technology and services (ICTS) supply chain. The ICTS supply chain, which is relied on by U.S. businesses and government at all levels, is critical to every aspect of America's national and economic security.
In addition to continuing our work on the Software Bill of Materials concept, the Communications Supply Chain Risk Information Partnership, and a resilient supply chain for 5G networks and beyond, NTIA will use the funding to design and support a new programmatic function for addressing risks to the ICTS supply chain.
Expanding Broadband Access and Adoption
The budget allocates $26.8 million for NTIA’s broadband programs, an increase of $10 million. This increase will allow NTIA to support the President’s goal of expanding broadband access, including the establishment of the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth. This funding will support the added responsibilities of the new office, including connecting with states, communities, and minority organizations that need broadband and digital inclusion support and developing targeted training.
NTIA will also use the funding to continue the monitoring and support of broadband grants. NTIA is currently implementing three grant programs that are funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The Broadband Infrastructure Program will direct $300 million toward infrastructure deployment in areas that lack broadband, especially rural areas. The Tribal Broadband Connectivity programs includes $1 billion in funding to be used for increasing broadband access and adoption on tribal lands. The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program will direct $285 million to historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions.
In the American Jobs Plan, President Biden is calling for a historic investment of $100 billion to bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American.
Increasing Advanced Wireless Research
In order to satisfy growing demands for wireless technology, the President’s budget asks for continuing investments in advanced wireless research, including support for 5G and beyond technologies. The budget allocates $38.7 million for advanced communications research, which includes $12 million in direct funding for communications research and an increase of $26.7 million for a new five-year research initiative called the Federal Advanced Communications Test Site (FACTS) project.
In order to enter into spectrum-sharing arrangements, federal agencies and commercial operators will need information generated from a robust, open-air testing of wireless technologies to understand the characteristics of radar emissions in order to make objective-based decisions. FACTS will be the only research site of its kind in the nation, an open-air testing of wireless technologies to understand characteristics of radar emissions. The project will leverage NTIA’s Table Mountain field site in Boulder, Colorado, and initially focus on mid-band spectrum-sharing options. FACTS will provide the most accurate over-the-air measurements, using precision test equipment and NTIA Spectrum Monitoring sensors that will capture test events and feed an artificial intelligence and machine learning analytics software tool.