博客

Leveraging Federal Broadband Funding to Solve the Digital Divide – A Step-by-Step Guide

2021年6月29日 埃德•巴雷特

随着社区开始设想他们的新, 流行后正常, a key part of most strategies is the development of new approaches to improve broadband services. Once viewed as primarily a nice-to-have for entertainment purposes, the Coronavirus shutdown has made reliable high-speed internet critical to people working from home, 通过远程学习上学, 和医生进行远程医疗预约.

美国宽带接入地图.
来源:http://broadbandusa.ntia.doc.gov/resources/data-and-mapping

The National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) recently released a 新地图 on June 17 that shows just how pervasive the digital divide is in America. Unlike the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) map that relies on incumbent-provided speeds and shows most of America as covered under its current 25/3 speed definition, the NTIA map shows great swaths of America that are not truly receiving services at this level.

HR Green最近的博客, “宽带基础设施竞赛-美国的下一个挑战” discussed a number of key strategies to help communities prepare themselves to meet these new needs. 在这篇博客, we discussed various funding methods that are either becoming available or will become available in the coming months to help address the digital divide in the country.

Improved Funding Alternatives Are Available Today to Start the Journey

Additional guidance was recently released by the Treasury Department on the interim program rules for the ARPA funding. These grants to counties and communities include broadband as an allowable expense, and many of our clients are currently deploying these funds to begin the process of creating “shovel-ready” projects that can be quickly deployed to meet unaddressed community needs.

The Treasury Department published clarifying FAQs last week related to the use of ARPA funding to expand broadband services. 可以找到完整的文件 在这里. 在这, there are several notable clarifications that describe how public agencies might leverage federal relief dollars to drive broadband improvement. 让18luck新利体育手机app下载来讨论一下你可以采取哪些步骤来撬动资金.

  • 第一步:了解你的资助资格. The original guidance indicated that funds could be used in areas where “reliable 25/3” speeds were not present. The new FAQ clarifies that this term is open to broad interpretation and specifically allows funds for overbuilding of any areas served by DSL (copper) or DOCSIS 2.0电缆技术. It also clarifies that data is not limited to state/federal maps (which are notoriously inaccurate based on incumbent data and methodology) but can include the results of interviews, 调查, 等. We believe the NTIA map shows a clear path to contest traditionally incorrect FCC maps used to define eligible areas.
  • 第二步:量化中英里网络的需求. The new FAQ clarifies that ARPA funds can be used to establish middle-mile networks if the end goal is to facilitate end-user connectivity. 对于许多县, inexpensive access to backhaul is a key barrier to the completion of last-mile broadband networks to homes and businesses.
  • 步骤3:创建主计划,使其成为铁铲准备就绪. Recent guidance also has indicated that ARPA funds can be used to develop master plans and feasibility studies related to broadband as it includes planning and studies as qualified expenses. 进行一项 可行性研究或宽带总体规划 now arms your community with data you need to move to “shovel ready” status for ARPA or for federal broadband stimulus being considered in the current Congress.

除了ARPA资金, 6月24日, Biden reached an agreement with the Senate to fund $65 Billion (yes, 一个非常大的B!)宽带扩展. 重要的是, the Administration compared the broadband expansion plan to the electrification of the country and pushes not just private sector funding, but also makes broadband grants available to governmental entities and cooperatives. 而立法的最终形式还在等待中, we have heard from the Hill that these could take the form of federal grants.

今日社区,明日资助?

We believe the most important first step is the creation of a Broadband Master Plan or Feasibility Study. 研究现状, creating preliminary designs and associated costs and financial feasibility will allow you to come to the grant table with “shovel ready” projects and can help to improve your chances of receiving federal funds. 通过使用ARPA已经授予的资金, you can enhance your ability to position for the incoming flood of federal infrastructure dollars to create lasting change in your community.

18luck新利体育手机app下载进行一次对话来帮助量化社区的需求, 建立一个愿景来指引前进的道路, 并创建一个实现你未来需求的总体规划. Communities that not only adopt but deploy broadband infrastructure resources to solve connectivity challenges are at a significant advantage to those who merely hope the private sector will work towards the same goals.

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