CSAC Bulletin Article

Government Finance and Administration (GFA) Unit Participates at NACo

February 16, 2023

GFA attended the 2023 National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. from February 11-14, 2023. During the Broadband Summit on Local Coordination and Digital Equity, four National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) administered programs created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to drive high-speed internet access, affordability, and adoption were discussed:

·       Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program (BEAD), $42.45B

·       Digital Equity Act, $2.75B

·       Tribal Connectivity Technical Assistance, $2B

·       Middle Mile, $1B

Kevin Gallagher, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, at The Department of Commerce said the historic $48B investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law “… won’t likely happen again, so it’s important that we get it right.” Counties were reminded that states have until the end of June 2023 to submit their five-year action plan and an initial proposal to the NTIA for the BEAD program, and states are required to receive input from counties before doing so.

The BEAD program gives state, county, and other local governments flexibility to award broadband subgrants for a wide range of activities, including:

  • Unserved and underserved service area projects.
  • Data collection, broadband mapping, and planning.
  • Installing Internet and Wi-Fi infrastructure or providing reduced-cost broadband within multi-family residential buildings.
  • Broadband adoption programs, including program to provide affordable internet-capable devices.

Also, the Department of Commerce reminded the audience to review and inform the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) broadband mapping data in their communities during the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) Process. Counties can take several actions in the coming months to ensure that residents in your communities can receive federal funding for high-speed internet. The first step is to view the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection website, which lists all broadband serviceable locations in each respective county, and check it for accuracy. Directly on the website is the ability to challenge inaccuracies.

Picture of Supervisor Wanda Williams from Solano County, discussing the $300M Connecting Minority Communities Program during NACo’s Broadband Summit Fireside Chat, with speakers Hon. Tarryl Clark, Commissioner, Sterns County, Minnesota and Kevin Gallagher, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Commerce.

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