January 27, 2022
With the passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (known as the Infrastructure bill), $65 million has been designated for broadband expansion via the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The provision will provide funding to connect rural communities and low-income residents in urban areas with affordable, high-speed internet – effectively closing the digital divide affecting 42 million Americans today.
Individual state’s broadband programs will play an enormous role in assuming responsibility for their share of the funds and effective deployment in their states.
Once the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) publishes its Notice of Funding Opportunity, anticipated for May 2022, states will begin the process of submitting a Letter of Intent, outlining their intent and five-year goals for participating in the funding opportunity.
Meanwhile, the FCC is collecting data to produce data maps that identify unserved, underserved and served areas. These maps will determine state funding allocations. Initial funding distributions are projected to start in the fourth quarter of 2022.
While funding from this infrastructure program is months away, there is other funding available to build broadband networks through the American Rescue Plan Act, the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, Phase I of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and the Reconnect program amongst others.
In large part, these funds are intended for broadband infrastructure projects designed to deliver service that reliably meets or exceeds download and upload speeds of 100 Mbps and those that focus on last-mile connections. Access and guidance on applying for these grants can be made through each state’s broadband office, where one exists. A listing of state broadband programs is available from NTIA’s BroadbandNow program.
For decades, leading communications and technology companies have relied on KGPCo. By uniquely combining network services and supply chain solutions to build, optimize, and maintain networks, our team’s unmatched expertise enables our customers to navigate today’s challenges, implement tomorrow’s innovations. KGPCo is positioned to help service providers capitalize on government funds to build both traditional and non-traditional networks. We are part of the mission to bridge the digital divide, ensuring that all communities have access to high-quality broadband.
“It has never been more true that broadband connectivity is crucial to how we live today— in business, school, at home and beyond. Many programs are available, or will soon roll out, at local, state, and federal levels to assist both underserved and unserved communities in obtaining broadband service,” says Brent Williams, VP of Outside Plant at KGPCo. “Understanding where to begin can feel overwhelming for service providers. At KGPCo, we’ve designed internal models for building out broadband networks, including Design, Engineering, Materials Procurement, Supply Chain Management, and Construction, to facilitate and deploy next-generation fiber networks.”
We are the key strategic partner to industry leading companies who are deploying next generation communication networks, including wireline, wireless, MSOs and Utilities. We have already delivered fiber to millions of homes in North America.
Our turnkey portfolio of services supporting broadband and 5G deployments includes planning and feasibility, site acquisition, network design, construction, integration, and commissioning. Our comprehensive services offering, coupled with our skilled support teams, ensure a seamless network build experience for our customers. Growing our presence in key markets, our local crews and resources allow us to manage costs and deliverables through project completion.
KGPCo has long-standing relationships with key OEM partners—critical today with shortages for components needed to build fiber broadband networks. Our forecasting and inventory management expertise and strong partnerships mean a clearer understanding of supply vs. demand.
Across the nation, industries are experiencing a labor shortage. KGPCo is addressing the issue to support our customers' builds. We’re adding staff and ramping up training to ensure we have manpower to serve our customers. KGPCo has invested in equipment and resources that enables us to self-perform much of the network builds and maintenance.