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Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program – Playbook 3.0

By Fiber Broadband Association President and CEO Gary Bolton and NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield 

Since early in 2022, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) and the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) have joined to help state broadband offices and interested stakeholders implement the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program in ways that will have meaningful and lasting impacts. Today, we want to announce the rollout of Playbook 3.0 – our latest effort to provide additional in-depth substantive assistance for States as they develop their Initial Proposals and Action Plans.

Soon after the BEAD program was first signed into law, NTCA and FBA released a “Broadband Infrastructure Playbook,” mapping out in a simple, easy-to-follow format many of the key issues that States would need to wrestle with in implementing the program and providing recommendations on how they might realize the promise of this unprecedented investment opportunity. NTCA and FBA then published Playbook v 2.0 shortly after the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released its BEAD Notice of Funding Opportunity in May 2022, updating the recommendations from the original version in light of the processes and requirements set forth in that notice.

Since the release of Playbook v 2.0, NTIA has further defined BEAD requirements and set the course for implementation of the program, and States have undertaken substantial efforts with stakeholders to determine how best to meet the program’s objectives. Now, with the recent announcement of how much BEAD funding each State will receive, these efforts will accelerate as States develop and submit to NTIA their Initial Proposals setting the rules for funding distribution and selection of provider partners. NTCA and FBA are therefore excited to announce the phased publication of Playbook v 3.0 – building upon the implementation recommendations from prior releases by focusing on key issues and providing ground level analysis and advice that we believe will be most helpful as the race to implement BEAD hits a critical stage.

Over the next two to three months, working again with our partners at Cartesian, NTCA, and FBA will be releasing various Playbook 3.0 modules, providing “deeper dives” on key aspects of what States will need to tackle in their Initial Proposals. These modules will cover issues that range from permitting and how to set an “extremely high-cost threshold” to cybersecurity, supply chain risk management, and data for challenge processes. Our hope is that this intense focus on individual requirements of the program will help State broadband offices in crafting their Initial Proposals and stakeholders in engaging with the offices as decisions are made.

We look forward to sharing these modules and to continuing our efforts to help ensure that BEAD is a success both in the near future and over the long term. Stay tuned for the first release on permitting processes in just a few weeks, with many more to follow!