The Utah Broadband Center (UBC), part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, asks for public feedback on Utah’s draft of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Initial Proposal Volume 1.
Comments can be submitted online through Oct. 14, 2023.
The BEAD program is a federal funding opportunity that will allow Utah to build high-speed internet infrastructure in areas of the state that currently lack access to this resource. The total funding allocation for Utah is $317.4 million, which will be distributed to various broadband projects through a competitive grant process. To ensure the greatest impact for Utahns, community members and stakeholders are encouraged to provide input to the state’s proposed process to identify areas needing broadband service.
This first volume of the BEAD Initial Proposal outlines Utah’s strategies for identifying all locations that will be eligible for BEAD-funded projects. This includes all locations that are unserved by high-speed internet, defined as greater than 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, or underserved, defined as less than 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload. It also includes community anchor institutions that don’t have access to at least 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) of service.
The document outlines a future challenge process where internet service providers, local and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations can review the list of locations. They can challenge the categorization of any location identified as unserved, underserved, or served by providing evidence to the contrary. Following the challenge process, the state will run a grant process to distribute BEAD funds according to the eligible locations.
To provide an open and fair process, the UBC requests comments and feedback on the draft document be submitted during the 30-day open public comment period through the ConnectingUtah.com website or by calling (435) 264-8880.
Following the public comment period, the UBC will review feedback, finalize the document, and submit it to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of the process to receive federal BEAD funds.