The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program is a federal program from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). This program provides funding primarily for last mile connection to residences (i.e., Internet buildout to the home) in their respective communities. BEAD prioritizes Internet buildouts in the following order:
- Unserved locations: Locations with NO wired infrastructure to access the Internet
- Underserved locations: Locations with wired Internet infrastructure that DO NOT support the minimum speeds of the #InternetForAll program (100Mbps download / 20Mbps upload)
- Community Anchor Institutions: Existing community organizations or public spaces that may provide access and support services to the public with less than 1Gbps download / 1Gbps upload speeds offered
BEAD is the largest of all #InternetForAll programs, with a total of $45 billion available to the 50 states and territories. Hawaiʻi will see a total of $149.5 million under this program.
- Who will lead BEAD in the State?
- The University of Hawaiʻi is leading the BEAD program. UH will produce the State’s five-year action plan, initial and final proposals, and conduct the State challenge process. These outputs and the challenges received during the state challenge process will inform the locations eligible for BEAD funding identified in the competitive funding grant process.
- How can I get funding?
- Funding under BEAD will be awarded on a competitive basis. This means that UH will release a request for proposals (or another funding instrument) that potential applicants must apply to be awarded funding.
- Who is considered an eligible entity for these funding requests that UH will release?
- NTIA defines subrecipients for the state program. NTIA specifies that cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, public-private partnerships, private companies, public or private utilities, public utility districts, or local governments may not be excluded from eligibility as a subgrantee.
- What is the challenge process? Do I have to participate?
- The challenge process is open to Internet Service Providers, nonprofit organizations, and local government units. The challenge process allows these groups to refine the list of locations eligible for BEAD funding. If you or your neighbors have concerns that your Internet service status is reported inaccurately, please contact one of the above organizations, who may submit a challenge on your behalf. A list of challengers will be available in late 2023.
- How do I get involved?
- Stay tuned for the public comment period on the Initial Proposal in Fall 2023. In the meantime, if you or someone you know does not have their Internet service accurately reported on the FCC National Broadband Availability Map, please submit a challenge to correct the dots.
Five-Year Action Plan
Submitted in July 2023, the Five-Year Action Plan details the State’s goals to achieve universal service, expected challenges and barriers during the program duration, and the activities we expect to perform through 2027.
Initial Proposal & State Challenge
Due in December 2023, the Initial Proposal will introduce the State’s competitive subgrantee selection and Challenge Process. In addition, the State plans to submit the Initial Proposal Funding Request, allowing 20% of funds to be released to us for use towards the Challenge Process or subgrantee selection process. The Initial Proposal will be released for public comment prior to submission to NTIA.
Due in late 2024 – early 2025, the Final Proposal will include the results of the Challenge Process and the remaining projects to be funded with BEAD. The Final Proposal will be released for public comment prior to submission to NTIA.