February 2, 2024 —ACA Connects–America’s Communications Association, the Fiber Broadband Association, and NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, and the Fiber Broadband Association today encouraged the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to “stand its ground” in prioritizing fiber projects and maximizing the deployment of fiber networks as Congress intended under the Broadband Access, Equity, and Deployment (BEAD) program amid calls for the agency to reject or weaken initial proposals submitted by some states and territories.
In a letter from the organizations’ leaders to NTIA Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson, the associations called on the agency to ensure states and territories fulfill their responsibilities to connect all eligible locations to high-performance broadband service and to prioritize all-fiber builds, as directed by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The associations explained how this vision can be realized using a data-driven analysis and taking into account the efforts of other broadband funding initiatives as well.
“We’re urging NTIA to adopt metrics to keep the BEAD program on a path to success by prioritizing fiber infrastructure,” said Grant Spellmeyer, president and CEO of ACA Connects. “ACA Connects’ updated BEAD Framework is an excellent starting point for the agency to meet this goal, and we encourage them to utilize this data-driven approach. It shows that States can fund projects connecting very high percentages of unserved and underserved locations with fiber while ensuring that all eligible locations have access to high-performance broadband service, which is exactly what Congress intended when they created the program to boost broadband connectivity.”
“The NTIA’s BEAD program funding is a once-in-a-lifetime investment—we’ve got to get this right. History has taught us it is a mistake to avoid ambitious metrics. If we settle again it would be detrimental to Americans’ ability to connect to high-quality broadband,” said Gary Bolton, President and CEO at the Fiber Broadband Association. “Fiber remains the most reliable, high-performance broadband technology capable of supporting our bandwidth needs for decades to come. We encourage the NTIA and all states to carry out their mission to provide the necessary, critical broadband infrastructure to ensure every community can access broadband connectivity and every American can participate in today’s digital society.”
“With BEAD poised to deliver historic levels of funding for broadband deployment, which will in turn create untold economic, health and educational opportunities for millions of rural Americans, we simply cannot accept ‘just good enough’ service delivering the bare minimum to satisfy user demands here and now,” said NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield. “Congress rightly saw the value in investing in technologies built to last, and we hope NTIA will hold fast to this vision.”
About ACA Connects
America’s Communications Association – ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 500 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, video, and phone services covering 23 million customers, 6 million of which are located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. ACA Connects Members operate in every state providing advanced communications to connect homes, companies, main street, schools, hospitals and more. America’s economic prosperity in smaller communities and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA Connects Members, who believe a connected nation is a prosperous nation. Visit us at acaconnects.org.
About the Fiber Broadband Association
The Fiber Broadband Association is the largest and only trade association that represents the complete fiber ecosystem of service providers, manufacturers, industry experts, and deployment specialists dedicated to the advancement of fiber broadband deployment and the pursuit of a world where communications are limitless, advancing quality of life and digital equity anywhere and everywhere. The Fiber Broadband Association helps providers, communities, and policy makers make informed decisions about how, where, and why to build better fiber broadband networks. Since 2001, these companies, organizations, and members have worked with communities and consumers in mind to build the critical infrastructure that provides the economic and societal benefits that only fiber can deliver. The Fiber Broadband Association is part of the Fibre Council Global Alliance, which is a platform of six global FTTH Councils in North America, LATAM, Europe, MEA, APAC, and South Africa. Learn more at fiberbroadband.org.
About NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing over 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovative change in smart rural communities across America. In an era of transformative technological developments, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are advancing efforts to close the digital divide by delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks. Their commitment to building sustainable networks makes rural communities fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at www.ntca.org.