Published June 26, 2023
Montana will Partner with Local Governments
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) has announced a total of $42.45 billion will be granted under the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.
Montana is set to receive more than $628.9 million to help deliver high-speed, reliable internet access to unserved and underserved communities. According to the Broadband Office at Montana’s Department of Administration (DOA), 5 percent of Montanans live in underserved areas, and 13 percent live in unserved areas.
Following today’s funding announcement, the state of Montana is required to complete a multi-step process to receive its allotted BEAD program funding. The State must submit an initial proposal within 180 days, which involves a proposal describing the State’s intended uses of the funds and how it will construct a competitive award process to award BEAD funding to internet service providers (ISPs) who will do the actual broadband buildouts.
DOA proactively began planning in May 2022 when they submitted the BEAD planning funding application packet. This month, the Communications Advisory Commission (CAC) approved Montana’s 5-Year Action Plan (FYAP), which DOA will submit to NTIA in July.
The FYAP was developed through months of local outreach and coordination activities, including two statewide roadshows, a tribal summit, a statewide internet survey, and one-on-one interviews with community leaders, telecommunication providers, and other parties. The plan helps Montana establish its broadband goals and priorities and also serves as a comprehensive needs assessment that will inform the State’s Initial and Final Proposals (which are part of the afore-mentioned multi-step process to receive the allotted BEAD program funding).
According to the FYAP, Montana will partner with local governments and state departments/agencies to achieve the goals it has set forth. The State will also be working with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other organizations to deploy broadband.