Government Relations Update May 2022
By Matthew Hall, Internet2 External Relations Program Manager
Administration Launches “Internet for All” Grant Programs
On May 13, the Administration announced the beginning of its Internet for All initiative, an effort that will invest $45 billion to provide affordable internet access for everyone in the U.S. by the end of the decade. The Internet for All initiative launched with three Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) for grant programs authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which became law in November 2021. All three programs are administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Department of Commerce.
- The first grant opportunity is the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which will provide $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories. This funding will be distributed to the states for implementation. State governments will then provide subgrants to local organizations, such as non-profits, public-private partnerships, private companies, public and private utilities, and others. Applications for state and territorial governments opened on May 13, and letters of intent are due on July 18. Additional information about the program is available.
- The second opportunity is the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, which will provide $60 million for states, territories, and tribal governments to develop their digital equity plans as the first step in addressing digital equity needs across the country. Once the planning grant phase is complete, the $1.44 billion State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program will open to provide funding for the implementation of these plans. Applications opened on May 13 for the planning grant phase and applications or letters of intent are due on July 12. More information is available.
- The third opportunity is the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, which will provide $1 billion to invest in middle mile networks in unserved and underserved communities. This competitive grant program is open to a wide range of entities from state, local, and tribal governments to non-profits and telecommunications companies. The application period for this program will open on June 21 and close on September 30. Additional details are available.