Common Cause Submit Comments To NTIA Making Recommendations on Broadband Deployment, Affordability, and Digital Equity Programs 

Today, Common Cause submitted comments in response to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Request for Comment on the implementation of broadband programs found within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Implementation. The programs include the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program and Digital Equity Act programs. 

The comments make recommendations to ensure NTIA funds sustainable and affordable broadband networks to support the connectivity needs of marginalized communities. The recommendations include: 

  • Broadband deployment funding must prioritize support for future-proof networks 
  • Non-incumbent providers should be included in broadband funding opportunities to foster competition
  • Broadband funding should close gaps in connectivity for communities who have historically been left behind and prohibit discriminatory deployment practices  
  • The BEAD program’s low-cost option should be aligned  with the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program 
  • Robust stakeholder engagement requirements should be included as part of State Digital Equity Planning Grants.

Statement of Yosef Getachew, Common Cause Media and Democracy Program Director

“Congress entrusted NTIA with more than $40 billion to deploy broadband in unserved and underserved communities, and fund digital equity projects to ensure our communities are digitally ready to participate in our democracy, economy, and society. NTIA’s request for comment represents the first step toward getting this funding out the door to address long-standing disparities in connectivity and support communities who have historically been on the wrong side of the digital divide.  

“NTIA must set strong parameters for these programs to ensure funds are allocated equitably and efficiently. Setting guidelines for funding future-proof connectivity, fostering competition, and promoting adequate low-cost services are critical steps to ensure broadband networks are sustainable and affordable. NTIA must also set robust stakeholder engagement requirements to ensure groups representing communities most impacted by the digital divide have a seat at the table in the planning and implementation of these funds. We look forward to continuing to engage with NTIA and other stakeholders as we collectively work toward closing the digital divide.” 

To read the comments submitted by Common Cause to NTIA, click here.