Pennsylvania State Seal

NTIA said yesterday that it has approved both volumes of Pennsylvania’s BEAD initial proposal. This means that the state can begin the process of accepting applications for over $1.1 billion in BEAD rural broadband funding that it has been allotted.

The announcement brings the total number of states that have received full approval to seven. In addition, the District of Columbia has received full approval. 

This is the third week in a row that NTIA has announced BEAD Volume 2 initial proposal approvals. The seven most recent approvals came months after the first state – Louisiana – received approvals back in December. Perhaps we will see new approvals on a weekly basis moving forward.

The BEAD program has a total budget of $42.5 billion to cover some of the costs of deploying broadband to unserved and underserved areas. Individual states will administer the program, and each state is setting its own rules in accordance with guidelines established by NTIA, the federal administrator of the program.

The $1.1 billion-plus in BEAD funding that Pennsylvania is slated to receive is one of the higher amounts that any state has been allotted.

Brandon Carson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, told Telecompetitor recently that the state has approximately 236,000 unserved and 52,000 underserved locations.

Unserved locations are those lacking service at speeds of 25/3 Mbps, while underserved locations are those lacking service at speeds of 100/20 Mbps.

“NTIA approval of Volume II is an important milestone on our journey to close the digital divide in Pennsylvania,” said Carson in a prepared statement. “Now PBDA can take the next steps toward identifying the subgrantees who will construct the infrastructure necessary to connect unserved and underserved Pennsylvanians to affordable Internet service and the jobs, healthcare and educational opportunities it provides.”

Additional information about Pennsylvania broadband, including links to state funding resources, state-specific coverage and awards made through previous broadband funding programs, can be found on the Broadband Nation web page for the state.

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