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FBA & NTCA Letter to Alan Davidson at NTIA Re: “Fiber First” Approach for BEAD Program

The Fiber Broadband Association (“FBA”) and NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association (“NTCA”) applaud the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) for adopting a “fiber first” approach for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program. Consistent with the priority set forth by Congress in the law that created BEAD, we believe the program provides the best possible chance to bring robust, reliable all-fiber broadband service to the many millions of unserved and underserved locations throughout the country. That said, we understand that NTIA may be considering permitting States and Territories to award grants to applicants using other, less capable transmission technologies where the costs to deploy networks can be extremely high. While NTIA may believe there may be select instances where fiber deployment costs could be excessive, these should be viewed as rare exceptions to the overall approach. If we as a nation could deploy an electric wire to a location decades ago, there is no reason we cannot deploy fiber to that same location today.