May 26, 2022

Volume XII, Number 146

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Telecom Alert: NTIA Seeks Comment on Broadband Programs; ARPA Final Rule; Tribal Library E-Rate Eligibility; Affordable Connectivity Program Draft Rules [Vol. XIX, Issue 2]

NTIA Seeks Comment on Broadband Programs

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) issued a Request for Comment last week seeking public input on a range of issues associated with the broadband grant programs authorized under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“Infrastructure Act” or the “Act”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 45).  The Act allocated $48.2 billion to NTIA to fund broadband projects through various programs, such as the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (“BEAD”) and the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure (“MMBI”) programs.  NTIA seeks comment on the best ways to maximize funding deployment for these programs.  Comments are due by February 4, 2022.  

ARPA Final Rule

The Treasury Department issued its Final Rule implementing the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“SLFRF”) last week, which was established under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) to provide state, local, and Tribal government with resources to respond to the pandemic.  The final rule broadens eligible broadband infrastructure investments to projects designed to provide service to those with an identified need for additional investment.  It also requires ARPA-funded broadband service providers to participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program or provide access to a similar affordability program.  

Tribal Library E-Rate Eligibility

The FCC will consider a Report and Order at its Open Meeting on January 27 that will update the definition of library in the E-Rate program rules to provide clarity for Tribal libraries’ eligibility (Vol. XVIII, Issue 37).  Libraries currently eligible for support under the E-Rate program are those that are eligible for assistance from a State library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act (“LSTA”), for which many Tribal libraries were ineligible.  The Report and Order would clarify that Tribal libraries are eligible for E-Rate support and provide for targeted outreach efforts and programs for Tribal libraries. 

Affordable Connectivity Program Draft Rules

Last week, the FCC released a draft Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would establish rules for the $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (the “Program”) (Vol. XIX, Issue 1).  If adopted, the Order would establish eligibility requirements for the Program and outline the reimbursement and claims processes to receive the up to $30 per month subsidy, or up to $75 per month on Tribal lands.  The Commission also seeks comment on implementing a mechanism with which an eligible household in a high-cost area may receive an enhanced benefit of up to $75 per month.  

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 11
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About this Author

Jim Baller Communications Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

James (Jim) Baller represents clients across the U.S. in a broad range of communications matters including high-capacity broadband network projects, public-private broadband partnerships, telecommunications, wireless facility siting, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Jim was the founder and president of the U.S. Broadband Coalition, a diverse group of more than 160 communications service providers, high technology companies, labor unions, public interest and consumer groups, state and local government entities,...

202-434-4175
Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

Casey Lide represents clients on a broad range of communications matters including telecommunications, cable television, broadband Internet access service, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Casey counsels public- and private-sector clients on contract drafting and negotiation matters, including fiber optic IRUs and leases, easements, franchises, attachment agreements, ISP service agreements, interconnection and collocation agreements, strategic MoUs and others.   

He collaborates...

202-434-4186
Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC
Partner

Wesley Wright joined Keller and Heckman in 2006 and practices in the areas of telecommunications law.  He assists corporate clients and trade associations with various legal and regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, courts and state agencies.

Mr. Wright’s practice includes private wireless licensing, FCC enforcement, and related transactional matters.  He counsels clients on internal operations and governance matters and has drafted and negotiated asset purchase agreements,...

202.434.4239
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