NTIA Releases Notice of Funding Opportunities for Three IIJA Programs Today
Today is a big day—we’re one step closer to seeing the $65 billion investment the federal government made in digital equity and broadband through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). By way of reminder, the IIJA, passed in fall 2021, appropriates over $65 billion to states, local governments, community organizations, and other entities for a range of digital inclusion activities. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will administer the bulk of the digital equity and broadband funds allocated through IIJA—over $48 billion of the $65 billion—through four programs. Collectively, they’re calling it the “Internet for All” initiative.
Today NTIA released three Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs)—which basically open up the application process for three of the programs NTIA will manage allocated through the IIJA:
- The Digital Equity Act (DEA) Programs: NOFO here and our analysis here
- The Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program: NOFO here and our analysis here
- The Middle Mile Program: NOFO here (NDIA analysis in the works)
While Congress outlined some guidelines in the legislation around how the $65 billion earmarked for digital equity and broadband should be dispensed, they left additional details to the discretion of NTIA.
For each of these programs, the NOFOs provide detailed guidelines the eligible applicants need to abide by in order to receive and administer funding. To get to this point, NTIA accepted and received over 550 public comments on how the programs should be implemented. NDIA submitted comments to NTIA, strongly recommending NTIA prioritize equity and local community engagement throughout all their broadband and digital equity programs (view them here).
We’re working through the NOFOs and will provide summaries and highlight relevant details for our community for each of them. We’re looking to see how digital equity is prioritized and operationalized, how NTIA guides states to address affordability in concert with deployment grants, what type of community and stakeholder engagement states will be encouraged to conduct, and how NTIA views the link between the DEA and BEAD plans and whether it will require states to explicitly link them or not.
As we digest and analyze the NOFOs we’ll provide those summaries and link to this post.
We invite you to join us for a webinar on Thursday, May 26, 3–4 p.m. ET that will provide an overview of the notable digital equity components found in the BEAD and DEA NOFOs. Register for the webinar here.
In the meantime, for more background information on the IIJA, see our webinar and FAQ here and additional information here. Also, please see the approximate timeline (below), provided by NTIA in their Info Sheet, and access the NTIA social media kit here.