The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) received funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for broadband deployment grant programs. The statute tasks NTIA with managing three funding initiatives:
- Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants ($1 billion);
- Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants ($300 million); and
- The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program ($285 million).
On March 17, 2021, Laura Spining, Director of Partnerships for BroadbandUSA, the program within NTIA that supports broadband expansion, moderated a panel of BroadbandUSA and NTIA leaders devoted to each of these initiatives. The panelists explained that NTIA is currently developing rules to determine the exact parameters for funding beyond what the legislation requires.
While the plans for each program are still under review, NTIA anticipates that rules will be finalized and the funding opportunities announced in late spring or summer 2021. A recording of the panel discussion and slideshow presentation are available here. Meanwhile, NTIA will host future webinars offering updates on the programs. Another webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, April 21 at 2:00 PM EDT, and the link to register is here. NTIA is also hosting an ongoing webinar series from April through July that will focus on each of the three programs independently.