The National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Monday awarded an additional $29.5 million to five states to develop their plans for their full shares of a $45 billion broadband development grant program.
The five states — Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina and Rhode Island — were the latest group to receive planning funds as part of the NTIA’s “Internet for All” program, which was created as part of last year’s infrastructure spending law. The planning grants are meant to be used on steps like data collection, public outreach and surveys, employee training, developing statewide broadband goals and drafting plans for how the states intend to use their eventual full awards under the new Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment fund.
In total, the NTIA has awarded states nearly $50 million in planning grants since Aug. 31, when it gave $2.9 million to Louisiana. Nebraska, Idaho and Ohio have also received their initial funds since then.
The $42.5 billion BEAD grants account for nearly all of the “Internet for All” program, though states have also received grants from a smaller digital-equity fund. All 50 states have applied for the BEAD program, and the NTIA has been approving planning funds on a rolling basis.
Full awards — which will send at least $100 million to every state — are expected to be released by next June 30, and will hinge in large part on analyses of new nationwide broadband coverage maps published last Friday by the Federal Communications Commission. A public challenge period for the maps’ underlying data runs through Jan. 13.