Tag: "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act"

Posted January 22, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

It can be difficult to track all of the federal funding opportunities out there these days for communities looking to improve local Internet access. Even more difficult is parsing through all the ways they can be used, and charting a path to successfully weave them together to achieve local broadband goals. To help, we published our "Community Guide to Federal Funding Opportunities" in September, followed up by a look at what the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). 

But Common Sense Media recently put out a Federal Broadband Funding Guide packed with useful information and well worth bookmarking for future use. It breaks down the buckets of broadband money not only in the IIJA, but from the American Rescue Plan, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and the other ongoing programs like USDA ReConnect. 

The value of the guide comes from Common Sense including clear and concise descriptions of the legislation, the amount of money allocated in them, who the funds will be flowing to and in what ways, what the deadline is to use the funds, and if they can be dedicated to infrastructure, devices, affordability, or equity and inclusion projects. Check it out here, or download below.

Posted January 21, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

On Wednesday, some of us joined Broadband Breakfast to talk about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Community Broadband Network approach to infrastructure funding. It was a lively and fun conversation, touching also on the new Treasury Final Rules for the Rescue Plan funding, affordability challenges, the value of competition, and how we hope these funds shape up.

On the panel was DeAnne Cuellar, Sean Gonsalves, Ry Marcattilio-McCracken, Christopher Mitchell, and Drew Clark. Watch the session here, or below.

Posted January 18, 2022 by Sean Gonsalves

Community broadband advocates in New York rang in the new year celebrating Gov. Kathy Hochul’s announcement of a proposed $1 billion investment to beef up broadband in the Empire State. If state lawmakers move to enact the initiative, it would be what the Governor’s office describes as “the largest ever investment in New York's 21st century infrastructure.”

During her State of the State speech, Gov. Hochul unveiled the ConnectAll Initiative, which aims to “deliver affordable broadband to millions of New Yorkers and transform the state's digital infrastructure through new investments,” with municipal broadband as a centerpiece of the plan.

In announcing the new initiative – which would be funded with a combination of up to $300 million in state funds, $345 million in federal funds, with the rest to eventually come from the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – Gov. Hochul said:

The pandemic exposed how without broadband Internet, New Yorkers can be disconnected from school, work, and families. The ConnectALL Initiative will empower local municipalities and state agencies to set up nation-leading broadband infrastructure statewide, ensuring that every New Yorker has access to the Internet when they need it.

Six-Part Strategy

The plan not only creates a new ConnectALL Office, it directs the office to work in conjunction with other state agencies in overseeing the major components of the effort, following a six-part strategy that includes:

The creation of a Broadband Assessment Program and Interactive Map. Administered by the state’s Public Service Commission, the Broadband Assessment Program would build the state’s “first ever, in-depth interactive broadband map” that will show where broadband infrastructure is available and how reliable it is across the state. This would be a central...

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Posted December 14, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

Join us live on Thursday, December 16th at 5pm ET for Episode 28 of the Connect This! Show, where co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by returning guests Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) and Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) to catch up on the news of the week and check in on a number of issues.

The panel will discuss, among other things, the transition from the Emergency Broadband Benefit to the Affordable Connectivity Program, restrictive access and exclusive wiring agreements in apartment buildings, and where the NTIA is on administering the more than $42 billion in new broadband infrastructure.

Subscribe to the show using this feed, or visit ConnectThisShow.com

Email us broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback, ideas for the show, or your pictures of weird wireless infrastructure to stump Travis.

Watch here or below on YouTube Live, via Facebook Live here, or follow Christopher on Twitter to watch there.

Posted December 9, 2021 by Maren Machles

This week, we are releasing a bonus episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast, featuring a recent National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) webinar on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that recently passed in Congress. 

In this webinar, NDIA Policy Director, Amy Huffman breaks down the programs created by the more than $65 billion that’s been allocated to broadband infrastructure. Huffman explains how communities and organizations can be eligible to receive funds through the Digital Equity Act and sub grants through the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program.

For more information, including the video webinar with slides and a list of frequently asked questions go to this NDIA blogpost. 

This show is 56 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Read the transcript here. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on ...

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Posted December 7, 2021 by Maren Machles

On this week’s episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast, Christopher Mitchell brings back a longtime favorite guest, Jon Chambers, Partner at Conexon, to talk about what is next for municipal and cooperative broadband efforts given the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The two discuss the importance of rural cooperatives when connecting some of the most underserved areas of country. Chamber said the number of dollars isn’t what’s impacting the increased connectivity around the country. The impact depends on where those dollars are going, and this infrastructure legislation will hopefully create a more direct line to cooperatives, given the fact it will be dispersed through block grants to the states. 

They talk about new issues that could arise given the FCC’s new polygon mapping method and how it will almost certainly slow down disbursement of funds. 

Finally, they hone in on what communities can do to help channel these dollars in the right direction and bring high-speed, reliable Internet to folks across the country. 

This show is 49 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Read the transcript here. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes ...

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Posted November 22, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

ILSR’s Community Broadband Initiative Director Christopher Mitchell recently joined Kimberly Adams on Marketplace Tech to talk about the $65 billion in the infrastructure bill that is being allocated to expanding broadband access. The pandemic exposed many inequities in our economy including the lack of robust Internet connectivity in many rural areas. The infrastructure bill is a start to mending the injustices that have existed in the broadband sector for over a decade. 

The key takeaway from the infrastructure bill, Christopher explains, is “that we are going to see unprecedented investment in rural connectivity, and we have multiple years’ worth of subsidies for low-income families, where they don’t earn enough money to be able to afford the connection that may already be available to them.” 

Vermont, one of the most rural states on the map, is a successful model for developing reliable broadband systems. “They have developed a system in which a lot of the nearby communities can band together. They work with a local provider, and that company will then use the infrastructure that is owned by the community to deliver services across it.”

Building equitable broadband infrastructure is no small feat. Critical components easily get lost in legislation, like affordable connectivity for middle-class Americans. As Christopher puts it, “What about the rest of us?” This is one success, of many, in the long fight for accessible Internet connectivity.

Listen to the episode below, or here.

This story originally appeared on ILSR.org. Read the original here.

Posted November 15, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

Join us live on Thursday, November 18th at 5pm ET for Episode 26 of the Connect This! Show, where co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) to talk about all things related to the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, inside of which is more than $42 billion in broadband infrastructure money in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. 

The panel will tackle all the burning questions you have. How does this fit in with the other pots of infrastructure money? What's the long-term outcome of such a large commitment likely to be? What's the timeline for rulemaking? How can communities put themselves on a path to win grants? 

They'll also talk about a new ILSR report, published last week, which analyzes price and billing transparency for Internet service between different types of providers.

Subscribe to the show using this feed, or visit ConnectThisShow.com

Email us broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback, ideas for the show, or your pictures of weird wireless infrastructure to stump Travis.

Watch here or below on YouTube Live, via Facebook Live here, or follow Christopher on Twitter to watch there.

Posted August 19, 2021 by Sean Gonsalves

There’s a sign in the middle of Lempster, N.H. that reads: “On nearby Allen Road on December 4, 1939, the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative set its first utility pole, an important event in bringing electric service to the farms, mills and homes of the New Hampshire countryside.”

Richard Knox, chairman of the citizen group New Hampshire Broadband Advocates and a member of Broadband Advisory Committee in the town of Sandwich, wrote in the New Hampshire Union Leader about the history behind the sign and why modern-day co-op members are once again celebrating:

When the lights first switched on back in that long-ago December, Lempster schoolchildren marched to the first pole behind a 23-piece band … Residents danced in the streets and partied well into the night … Eighty-one Decembers later, Lempster can claim bragging rights to another momentous first. On December 15, local and state officials joined leaders of the Electric Co-op to celebrate the light-up of its new fiber-optic broadband network.

Expanding Town-by-Town

As we reported then, after New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) members voted to authorize the co-op to bring fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity to its 84,000 members spread out across 115 towns and cities in the Granite State, just weeks later, NHEC connected its first 900 households in Lempster, Clarksville, Colebrook and Stewartstown to its core network, funded with a $6.7 million grant from the state’s Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Program.

Last month, having been...

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