Nokia and Ready.net are partnering to enhance Ready.net’s Broadband.Money platform to more effectively help broadband providers and communities secure a share of the increasing amount of grant money aimed at bringing broadband to unserved and underserved markets in the United States.
The providers and communities use the Broadband.Money platform to complete broadband audits, collaborate, and to research, develop and submit broadband grant proposals. Nokia will provide tutorials, blueprint network designs and tools to help determine the equipment required and simplify the application process.
Both Nokia and Ready.net have much to gain in helping communities to win their share of the $97 billion in federal and state funding. There is a bit of a “land rush” forming as programs like BEAD and others begin to take form. The U.S. government aims for all homes to have broadband by 2027.
“America’s making its largest ever investment in broadband,” Jase Wilson, Founder and CEO at Ready.net said in a press release. “Every dollar must go to efficient, built-to-last local networks in order to deliver on NTIA’s vision for high-performance, affordable access for all.”
As many Telecompetitor readers can attest to, applying for grants is no trivial task. According to Broadband.Money, grant applications require comprehensive data analysis of the proposed service area, including information on socio-economic makeup, existing broadband connectivity, anchor institutions and businesses. Information on flooding risks, existing network assets and other data also is required.
Broadband.Money claims to help providers and communities work through this maze with geospatial insights, predictive analytics, business intelligence, broadband grant templates and empirical data, among other tools.
“Our partnership with Nokia will provide local providers and communities access to carrier-grade technology, equipment and support planning tools to further simplify the grant application process, as well as post-grant network operations and management,” said Scott D. Woods, Ready.net’s VP of Community Engagement & Strategic Partnerships in a statement to Telecompetitor. “We are excited to work with them as a trusted industry leader and partner for the benefit of local providers and local communities.”
Broadband Maps Play a Crucial Role
New broadband maps will play a critical role in awarding billions in grant dollars. Last week, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that the first draft of an updated national broadband map is expected in November. This new process is not without controversy.
Woods told Telecompetitor that he is “Disappointed, but not surprised by the latest developments regarding the FCC’s mapping process. It is our core fundamental belief that empirical data must be a key component of developing accurate, household-level broadband maps and transparent challenge processes.”
Woods concern revolves around accuracy and giving providers and communities adequate resources to challenge claims of current broadband coverage, which could prevent them from receiving funding.
“We also note that the BEAD program will have its own challenge process and we strongly encourage and in fact recommend that states and NTIA ensure local communities and individuals, including communities of color and economically distressed communities, that have been harmed by flawed maps and mapping methodology have the ability to provide direct and empirical evidence of their connectivity status and profiles,” he said.