Keeping Track of BEAD

The NTIA has a great dashboard for tracking the status of the last several steps needed before States can receive BEAD grant funds. The dashboard seems to be regularly updated to allow you to track the state or states you are interested in.

This dashboard tracks the progress of each state’s specific BEAD grant plans. The NTIA has split the BEAD action plan from states into two volumes that address specific issues.

BEAD Volume I covers the following issues:

  • Status of current grant funding that has already been used in a state to bring broadband to unserved and underserved locations.
  • A list identifying the remaining unserved and underserved locations.
  • A list of the community anchor institutions that don’t yet have good broadband
  • A description of the state’s final upcoming challenge process where local governments and ISPs will be able to challenge the accuracy of the broadband maps to define areas eligible for BEAD grants.

BEAD Volume II is the core of how the BEAD grants will work and covers the following topics:

  • The specific objectives of a state’s BEAD grant plan.
  • A description of how a state assisted local, tribal, and regional broadband planning efforts
  • A description of the local coordination process where a state was supposed to reach out to all corners of the state to get feedback on the BEAD grants.
  • The specific plan of how the BEAD grant process will be structured. This includes defining the grading scale that will be used to choose grant winners.
  • A description of how some BEAD funds will be used for non-deployment purposes, and how grant winners will be selected. Non-deployment uses of BEAD includes grants for activities like cybersecurity training, promoting telehealth, improving digital literacy skills, etc.
  • Description of how a state will monitor the implementation of grants.
  • Description of how a state will track the jobs created by the grants
  • Description of how the BEAD grants will be use a diverse and highly skilled workforce
  • Description of how the funding process will give priority to minority and women-owned businesses.
  • Description of the steps a state has taken to reduce the cost and the barriers to infrastructure construction and deployment.
  • Description of how a state will assess the impact on climate by the projects
  • Description of the requirements for ISPs to offer low-income rate plans
  • Description of how a state will make sure that ISP rates are affordable for the middle class.
  • Descriptions of how a state will use the first 20% of BEAD funding
  • Description of any waivers that a state plans to use for situations where state laws conflict with BEAD requirements, such as not allowing grants to be awarded to local governments.

If anything, this list of requirements shows that states have more to do than just award grants. States must track a wide range of related issues and must satisfy the NTIA that the state will meet all of the obligations required in the NTIA BEAD rules.

There is a link at the end of the first paragraph of the dashboard that takes you to the Public Notice Posting of State and Territory BEAD and Digital Equity Plans/Proposals. This page includes the key documents that have been created by each State. This includes links to:

  • 5-Year Action Plans. Each state must file a plan to describe the goals and priorities for making sure that everybody gets access to broadband. It appears to me that in the haste to get BEAD grants awarded that the 5-year plans are not being given a lot of attention. It’s something that states need to complete, but the plans I’ve read so far are pretty generic.
  • Digital Equity Plans. These are plans to provide digital equity grants that are separate from the $42.5 billion allocated to last-mile broadband.
  • Volumes I and II of each state’s BEAD proposals.
  • The two NTIA NOFOs that describe the specific requirements for the digital equity and BEAD grants.

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