Several organizations have made useful resources available for state broadband offices and for providers interested in applying for BEAD rural broadband funding.
NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association has released what it calls a “toolkit” to help the association’s small rural broadband provider members increase broadband adoption and engagement in their communities. The resource is called “SMART Tools for Digital Inclusion.”
As NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield noted in a prepared statement, “Whether by hosting ‘internet classes,’ partnering with local libraries and career academies or helping students and seniors obtain devices, NTCA members have long had a strong commitment to improving access to and understanding of broadband opportunities in their communities. This toolkit highlights their efforts and provides guidance for providers and states to help set them up for success as they apply for BEAD funding and work to bridge digital gaps.”
NTCA also had a hand, along with The Fiber Broadband Association, in the creation of a series of playbooks aimed at helping state broadband offices make key decisions involving BEAD. The associations recently released Broadband Infrastructure Playbook 3.0, which is the latest update.
The playbook includes four modules, which are focused on:
- permitting issues involving access to rights-of-way and infrastructure
- extremely high cost per location thresholds, which may determine the technology used in an area
- the broadband mapping challenge process
- cybersecurity and supply chain risk management
Telecompetitor/ Broadband Nation also wanted to remind readers that NTIA updates its recently launched BEAD Initial Proposal Progress Dashboard every Wednesday. The dashboard tracks states’ progress on meeting eight key milestones in the BEAD program. As of today, two states – Louisiana and Virginia – have reached seven of the milestones. A third state, Nevada, has reached six milestones.
Also as of today, numerous states have reached four or more milestones, while about 20 states and U.S. territories have reached three milestones or less.