spelling out of plan

Ohio has received $6,470,550.76 in planning grants from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The funding is aimed at planning for the deployment of high-speed networks and developing digital stills training programs.

The funding was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. It comes from two sources: The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) and the Digital Equity Act.

Ohio is the second state – after Louisiana — to receive its BEAD and Digital Equity grants. Fifty-six grants — the states and six territories – will be announced on a rolling basis.

Ohio’s planning portion funding of the $42.45 billion BEAD Program is $5 million. The goals are to fund:

  • Identification of unserved and underserved locations;
  • Local coordination including outreach to stakeholders across all entities and geographies; 
  • Planning and building capacity of the state’s broadband office;
  • Asset mapping to catalog broadband adoption, affordability, equity, access and deployment activities;
  • Promotion of local engagement with unserved, underserved and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to adoption.

Ohio’s planning portion funding of the $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act is $1,470,550.70. The goals are to fund:

  • Development of a statewide digital equity plan; 
  • Hiring of a digital equity and inclusion manager to create and execute the state digital equity strategy; 
  • Creation of a plan that will benefit the state and include the BroadbandOhio Alliance;
  • Regional coalitions to coordinate community engagement activities and ensure the needs of underrepresented populations are identified;
  • Pilot programs that engage with underserved populations.

In late August, Louisiana was awarded its BEAD and Digital Equity Act grants. It took home $2 million and $941,542, respectively, from the two programs.

Earlier in the month, the NTIA said that all fifty states and territories had submitted their applications for BEAD planning grants. Industry experts suggest that some states may present their own research on broadband availability and challenge the amount of funding they are offered.

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