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NTIA administers grant programs that further the deployment and use of broadband and other technologies in America, laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth; improved education, public safety, and health care; and the advancement of other national priorities.
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Overview
On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. This Act includes a significant investment of $65 billion to help close the digital divide and ensure that all Americans have access to reliable, high speed, and affordable broadband. This investment builds upon the funding for broadband deployment provided in the American Rescue Plan, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, the FCC’s Universal Service program, and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service broadband programs. This historic investment will lay critical groundwork for widespread access and affordability of broadband, creating new jobs and economic opportunities, providing increased access to healthcare services, enriching educational experiences of students, and improving overall quality of life for all Americans.
NTIA will implement the following programs:
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program: Appropriates $42.45 billion for states, territories, the District of Columbia (D.C.), and Puerto Rico (P.R.) to utilize for broadband deployment, mapping, and adoption projects. Each state, D.C., and P.R. will receive an initial allocation of $100 million -- and $100 million will be divided equally among the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands -- to support planning efforts including building capacity in state broadband offices and outreach and coordination with local communities. States, territories, D.C., and P.R., leveraging initial planning funds that will be made available through the program, will submit a 5-year action plan, which shall be informed by collaboration with local and regional entities. The remaining funding will be distributed based on a formula that considers the number of unserved and high-cost locations in the state, based on the maps to be published by the FCC in 2022. The first priority for funding is for providing broadband to unserved areas (those below 25/3 Mbps), followed by underserved areas (those below 100/20 Mbps), and then serving community anchor institutions (1/1 Gbps).
Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program: Establishes and funds a $1 billion program for the construction, improvement or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure. The purpose of the grant program is to expand and extend middle mile infrastructure to reduce the cost of connecting unserved and underserved areas to the internet backbone. Eligible applicants include States, political subdivisions of a State, tribal governments, technology companies, electric utilities, utility cooperatives, public utility districts, telecommunications companies, telecommunications cooperatives, nonprofit foundations, nonprofit corporations, nonprofit institutions, nonprofit associations, regional planning councils, Native entities, or economic development authorities.
Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program: Provides an additional $2 billion to TBCP, a NTIA program previously implemented under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The TBCP directs funding to tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.
Digital Equity Act Programs: Dedicates $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs that promote digital inclusion and equity to ensure that all individuals and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The goal of these programs is to promote the meaningful adoption and use of broadband services across the targeted populations in the Act, including low-income households, aging populations, incarcerated individuals, veterans, individuals with disabilities, individuals with a language barrier, racial and ethnic minorities, and rural inhabitants.
- State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program: $60 million formula grant program for states and territories to develop digital equity plans.
- State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program: $1.44 billion formula grant program for states and territories distributed via annual grant programs over 5 years to implement digital equity projects and support the implementation of digital equity plans.
- Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program: $1.25 billion discretionary grant program distributed vial annual grant programs over 5 years to implement digital equity projects. Eligible applicants include specific types of political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of a state; tribal governments; nonprofit entities; community anchor institutions; local educational agencies; and entities that carry out workforce development programs.
NTIA also manages three broadband grant programs funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021:
- Broadband Infrastructure Program: A $288 million broadband deployment program directed to partnerships between a state, or one or more political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service to support broadband infrastructure deployment to areas lacking broadband, especially rural areas.
- Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program: A $980 million program directed to tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.
- Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program: A $268 million grant program directed to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the purchase of broadband internet access service and eligible equipment or to hire and train information technology personnel.
In addition, NTIA continues to monitor the following:
- The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) (formerly called the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program) invested approximately $4 billion in projects throughout the United States to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service, and promote statewide broadband planning and data collection activities. The State Broadband Initiative was also responsible for creation and maintenance of the National Broadband Map.
- The State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP), a $121.5 million formula-based, matching grant program administered by NTIA. The program is designed to assist regional, state, local, and tribal government entities as they plan for a nationwide public safety broadband network. The SLIGP 2.0 round of grants provided up to $43.4 million in matching grant funds to provide continued support to States and territories.
- Previously awarded grants from the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP), which was terminated by Congress in fiscal year 2011. This program has helped public broadcasting stations and other organizations construct facilities to bring educational and cultural programs to the American public.
- The Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) Grant Program, helped first responders better communicate during disasters. NTIA, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, awarded nearly $1 billion to fund projects nationwide. Program funding ended September 30, 2012.
- The Low Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program (LPTV), which helps operators of analog low-power television stations in eligible rural communities to upgrade their facilities to digital broadcast capacity.
- A grant to the Metropolitan Television Alliance to deploy and maintain a temporary digital television broadcast system in the New York metropolitan area.
- Grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and NTIA to the states and U.S. territories to improve 911 services.
- A grant to the Public Broadcasting System as part of the Warning Alert and Response Network.
Prior initiatives include the Digital TV Converter Box Coupon Program and the Technology Opportunities Program.
We will be updating the OICG grant programs webpage as additional information becomes available on program guidance and webinars. You can also sign up on our BroadbandUSA listserv to stay up to date on our latest events and updates.