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NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson told reporters in a pre-briefing yesterday that the agency has approved all necessary documents for the state of Louisiana to get access to $1.3 billion in BEAD rural broadband funding previously allocated to the state. Louisiana is the first state to achieve that milestone.

“They can now move from planning to action,” Davidson said.  

The state is “on track to be the first state to break ground on high-speed internet networks,” said Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to President Biden on infrastructure coordination, who was also on hand for the pre-briefing.

The $42.5 billion BEAD program is administered by the states under the direction of NTIA.

NTIA previously approved Louisiana’s five-year BEAD plan and volume 1 of the state’s initial BEAD proposal. The final hurdle that the state faced was approval of volume 2 of its initial BEAD proposal. NTIA has now approved that as well.

According to Davidson, Louisiana submitted a “sophisticated and high-quality plan” for BEAD. He pointed to the state’s work force plan as one example.

He also praised the state’s plan to encourage funding recipients to use buried fiber cabling, which is more costly but less prone to weather-related outages in comparison with aerial fiber. Telecompetitor previously reported on those plans in October when we interviewed the state’s broadband director, Veneeth Iyengar.

At that time, Iyengar told us that he expected to begin accepting applications for BEAD funding in the first quarter of 2024. The state anticipates awarding funding in one big round with two phases, he said.

In yesterday’s pre-briefing, outgoing Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards said he expects to see ground broken on some BEAD-funded projects in 2024.

“Be like Louisiana,” Davidson advised other states. When it comes to submitting BEAD documents, he said, “There’s nothing like the present.”

Louisiana could soon have company. As of December 5, five other states had completed all but one of eight steps required to have their BEAD funding released and were just waiting for volume 2 approval.

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One thought on “Bragging Rights: The First State to Receive Its BEAD Funding Is…

  1. The state is “on track to be the first state to break ground on high-speed internet networks,” said Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to President Biden on infrastructure coordination, who was also on hand for the pre-briefing.

    Ignorant comment from a bureaucrat. This funding is to make bring high-speed Internet to the “last” of the locations in the U.S.

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