A key step in beginning to shape the broadband programs that will result from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is creating the rules that the federal government will use to provide guidance to state grant programs, as well as rules to administer the smaller federal competitive grant programs.
On Jan. 10, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a request for comments on the agency’s implementation of certain broadband provisions in the IIJA. In response, The Quilt and Internet2 submitted comments last week on behalf of the U.S. research and education networking community. NTIA announced on Feb. 14 that a total of 557 written comments were received.
The key topic areas addressed in the filing include:
- Bringing reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband to all Americans
- Supporting states, territories, and sub-grantees to achieve the goal
- Ensuring all eligible entities, including R&E networks, are considered in state grant programs
- Including educational stakeholders and interests in formulation of local broadband plans
- Establishing clear rules to enable open access to federally funded network facilities
- Establishing strong collaborative partnerships between state, local, and tribal governments
- Considering Digital Equity for higher education and unique needs of all educational institutions and community anchor institutions
- Setting appropriate standards for applicants to the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure (MMBI) grant program