October 17, 2023
Ensuring Broadband Deployment Subsidies Solve the Access Gap
Both federal and state regulators are currently rolling out plans to distribute the $42.5 billion in funds from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program to connect Americans who still lack access to high-speed, broadband internet. The central goal of this program may be undermined by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA), however, as it is focusing on policy goals unrelated to expanding access to the unserved, including middle-class affordability and the preference for union labor. In a new insight, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy explains why the NTIA’s unrelated objectives make it riskier for broadband providers to invest the matching private capital to expand internet access and explains how policymakers can promote investment and limit risk in broadband deployment.
To ensure the BEAD program succeeds in connecting unserved Americans to high-speed broadband, Congress should carefully oversee how states and the NTIA implement the program and more broadly embrace a regulatory regime that incentivizes investment in broadband networks as these policies affect whether providers will put forward capital for deployment.