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New Updates on BEAD Funding Policies

As a grant writer, these kinds of changes get me excited! So often the regulations fail to incentivize participation in programs, but with adapted approaches, we can secure greater buy-in. It’ll be fascinating to see how ISPs respond when there are no restrictions to their ROI.


If you haven’t heard by now, BEAD funding is coming! Back in June of 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released the BEAD Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). On December 26, the NTIA released a policy notice updating some conditions for the NOFO and outlining how the Department of Commerce’s grant management framework (aka Uniform Guidance) will apply to BEAD funding.


The notice is a result of stakeholders’ Request for Comment (RFC), expressing their concerns that the Uniform Guidance will discourage Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from participating in BEAD. The goal of these changes? Remove any barriers to broadband deployment and help incentivize more engagement from ISPs.


The updates apply to awards for infrastructure projects under BEAD funding, meaning projects where 50% or more of the cost is allocated to infrastructure deployment.


1) Income on BEAD-Funded Projects:

The NTIA will allow subrecipients (in this case, ISPs) to keep income made from the use of the funding. This helps support the core purpose of BEAD funding– to provide and improve broadband in underserved areas by incentivizing ISPs to build there.


2) Fixed Amount Awards:

Usually, fixed-amount awards aren’t allowed when cost-sharing is required. However because BEAD projects have measurable goals and deliverables and costs can be estimated, the NTIA is allowing states to grant fixed cost awards for BEAD projects without having to jump through the normal hoops to gain approval and with no minimum award amount.


3) Equipment Upgrades:

Federal money is highly regulated to make sure the government doesn’t inadvertently pad the pockets of awardees. As a result, most awards demand that any new equipment or property needed to execute the grant must first be approved. However, the NTIA is waiving this requirement to help encourage faster deployment without waiting on delivery. So how’s the NTIA going to ensure proper use of funds? So glad you asked.


4) Federal Interest on Equipment and Property:

Any property or equipment acquired under Federal funds will be held in a trust for 10 years following the close of the project. This ensures that beneficiaries of the subaward (ie: those living in critically underserved areas) still benefit from the money, even if something forstalls the actual deployment.

You can read more about the Policy Notice here.


We love solutions solutions like this– more ISPs mean more competition, which results in better service and rates for customers. We’re seeing a continued dedication to making the BEAD program as beneficial and powerful as possible. Let’s keep lowering the threshold to provide reliable utilities and encourage even more rural deployment for the unserved and underserved areas!


Interested in a demo or curious to learn more about Kataputl Pro? Contact us at sales@katapultengineering.com to get started!




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