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All states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia now have received Digital Equity and Broadband Equity Access and Deployment, or BEAD, planning funds, according to NTIA.

The news is based on three more states – Massachusetts, Kansas and New Mexico – having been awarded planning grants.

BEAD is a $42.45 billion program aimed at covering some costs of bringing broadband to unserved and underserved areas. Digital Equity is a $2.75 billion program aimed at improving digital adoption and equity.

The awards:

  • Massachusetts: Planning grants of $6,003,760.60 ($4,999,996.99 from BEAD and $1,003,763.61 from Digital Equity).
  • Kansas: $5,692,606.99 ($4,999,942.61, $692,664.38).
  • New Mexico: $5,740,534.91 ($5,000,000; $740,534.91).

The programs became law in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Each state and six territories are eligible for the funding.

States and territories will administer the programs. The planning grants are aimed at developing plans for how digital equity and BEAD funds will be awarded. The plans must be approved by NTIA before the funds allocated to the state will be released to the state.

Planning funds can be used for the creation of action plans for new networks, for identifying unserved and underserved communities and certain other activities. Priorities are  asset mapping, building stakeholder engagement and hiring staff and beefing up offices.

The NTIA took the year-end opportunity to point to what it clearly feels was an active 2022.

“NTIA is like a start-up within the federal government, despite being nearly 45 years old,” Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson said in a press release. “We’ve had the explosive growth of a new organization in my first year at the helm: Over one third of current NTIA staff was not here when I took the oath of office in January. While NTIA is still a small agency by government standards, we punched above our weight class in 2022. We delivered on programs to improve Internet connectivity while also notching big wins on spectrum policy, international standards, and other important tech policy issues.”

Another recent batch of digital equity and BEAD planning grants was announced last week when NTIA announced planning grant awards to 12 states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Wyoming and Vermont.

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