Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program
The lack of fast, reliable, and affordable broadband is a major problem in rural, suburban, and even urban America. Issues of digital inclusion and accessibility have exacerbated the digital divide, leaving millions of Americans unable to use technology to improve their lives.
The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program is funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will provide Maine with a $272 million grant that will bring critical resources to fund broadband infrastructure and digital equity for the entire state. The BEAD program prioritizes Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSLs) that are unserved (less than 25/3 Mbps) and underserved (less than 100/20 Mbps).
Program Operations &
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) expects BEAD implementation to take roughly 6 years from start to finish. In September 2023, we submitted Maine's Broadband Action Plan and Digital Equity Plan to the NTIA for review. We are currently developing and accepting feedback on the BEAD Initial Proposals, Volume 1 & 2.
Click the image to the left to zoom in on the timeline.
BEAD Initial Proposals, Volume 1 & 2
The BEAD Initial Proposal Public Comment Process is now closed. Updated versions of the proposals that MCA submitted to NTIA on December 22, 2023 can be seen below. One or more rounds of curing (finalizing the document per NTIA's instructions/format) are expected following this submission. THANK YOU to everyone who contributed during the public comment period!
Volume 1 includes:
1.1 Existing Broadband Funding
1.2 Unserved and Underserved Locations
1.3 Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs)
1.4 State Challenge Process
Volume 2 includes:
2.1 Objectives, 2.2 Local, Tribal, and Regional Broadband Planning Processes, 2.3 Local Coordination, 2.4 Deployment Subgrantee Selection, 2.5 Non-Deployment Subgrantee Selection, 2.6 Eligible Entity Implementation Activities, 2.7 Labor Standards and Protection, 2.8 Workforce Readiness, 2.9 Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs)/Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs), Labor Surplus Firms Inclusion. 2.10 Cost and Barrier Reduction
2.11 Climate Assessment, 2.12 Low-Cost Broadband Service Option, 2.13 Middle-Class Affordability Plans, 2.14 Use of 20 Percent of Funding, 2.15 Eligible Entity Regulatory Approach, 2.16 Certification of Compliance with BEAD Requirements,
As MCA launched Maine's BEAD State-Led Challenge Process and subsequent Subgrantee Selection Process, we will host info sessions and other opportunities for individuals, partners, and other organizations to engage with these processes.
What Does BEAD and Digital Equity Mean For Me?
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
This event is for anyone interested in understanding where we are in the BEAD & Digital Equity timelines, has questions about what upcoming BEAD and Digital Equity funding will mean to their community, organization, or broadband project, or would like to know more about how these funding streams will work in conjunction with other MCA programs.
Maine's Broadband Action Plan and Digital Equity Plan
Faced with the opportunity for unprecedented funding, Maine Connectivity Authority facilitated the development of a Broadband Action Plan (BAP) that is rooted in digital equity, in coordination with stakeholders around the state. This plan identifies priorities for investment in broadband and digital equity, and serves as the state’s 5-year road map to bring the economic, health, educational, and social benefits of high-speed internet to all Mainers. Through the BAP process, we strive to understand the challenges and opportunities facing stakeholders from every corner of the state so we can develop effective solutions.
Following our Reflect and Revise period in June 2023, MCA processed hundreds of pieces of feedback that were received and updated the draft plan. In August 2023, MCA submitted the state's 5-year Broadband Action Plan to the NTIA. In September 2032, MCA submitted the state's first Digital Equity Plan to the NTIA.
We are greatly appreciative of all the insightful comments and helpful feedback that was provided by the people of Maine as we finalize these plans!
Digital Equity in the Planning Process
Digital equity is the condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity for full participation in our society and economy. Maine has opted to combine our digital equity and infrastructure planning, so digital equity will be woven throughout the plan and will also result in a separate stand alone digital equity plan for the state for the first time. The digital equity components of the BAP will be guided by the Digital Equity Taskforce and supported by the Regional and Tribal Broadband Partners.
For more information about MCA's Digital Equity initiatives, head to our Digital Equity webpage.
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