Advances in economic opportunity, energy efficiency, telecommuting, education, and telehealth rely on broadband infrastructure. We work with broadband providers, local, state, and federal policymakers, consumers, community institutions, and other stakeholders to support broadband deployment throughout the state, improve efficiencies and expand statewide access and usage (Utah Code 63N-17).
Since 2010, our office has collaborated with the Utah Geospatial Resource Center to develop and maintain up-to-date and accurate statewide maps of available broadband and statewide economic opportunity resources.
The state endorses a broadband plan to increase deployment, bandwidth, adoption, digital inclusion, and literacy across the state to businesses, educational anchor institutions, libraries, healthcare centers, tribes, and other entities. Broadband is crucial to local and global economies and our connection to the world.
The BEAD program includes $42 billion for high-speed Internet access. This federal grant program, funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, aims to provide universal access to high-speed internet by funding partnerships between states or territories, communities, and stakeholders to build infrastructure where needed and to increase adoption.
BEAD prioritizes unserved locations with no internet access or that only have access to internet speeds under 25/3 Mbps and underserved locations with access to internet speeds under 100/20 Mbps. Each state and territory received a set allocation from the National Telecommunication Information and Administration (NTIA) for the BEAD program. The total amount allocated to Utah is $317.4 million. The funding will be distributed through a competitive grant process.
Before the funding can be distributed, Utah has been tasked with developing a five-year action plan that outlines the strategic priorities for broadband deployment in the state. Utah has also been charged with creating a proposal outlining the process to identify unserved and underserved areas that will be eligible for BEAD-funded projects and the process to distribute BEAD funds to eligible subgrantees to carry out those projects.
The Utah Broadband Center Advisory Commission was created legislatively during the 2022 General Session (Utah Code §29-36-109). The Commission is tasked with making recommendations to the Center regarding the state’s broadband digital connectivity plan development and the application for and use of broadband infrastructure funds. The funding sources can include:
- Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Pub. L. No. 115-58
- Legislative appropriations
- State and federal grants
The Commission solicits input from relevant stakeholders, including public and private entities, who may assist in developing and implementing the strategic plan. It also provides recommendations and changes based on a review of strategic plan drafts.
Created in 2011, the Utah Broadband Alliance coordinates the collaborative statewide effort on broadband adoption and deployment efforts. Members of the council represent a diverse group of interests, including legislators, economic opportunity, state and local government, healthcare, education, libraries, public safety, and tribal entities.
The Utah Broadband Alliance hosts quarterly in-person meetings and virtual monthly calls.
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