July 18, 2023

ACA Connects Releases BEAD Framework Version 3.1 Based on Actual NTIA Funding Allocations

Trade Group’s Update Will Assist States in Preparing Their Initial Proposals to Drive Fiber to Eligible Locations and Ensure All Are Connected

PITTSBURGH, July 18, 2023 – Building on its prior research, ACA Connects today announced the release of “BEAD Program: A Framework to Allocate Funding for Broadband Availability – Version 3.1.” It is available on the ACA Connects website here: https://acaconnects.org/bead-program-framework/

This newest version, unveiled by ACA Connects President and CEO Grant Spellmeyer, incorporates actual funding allocations announced late last month by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), further enabling States to develop their Initial Proposals and help them maximize fiber deployments while bringing broadband connectivity to all eligible locations.

BEAD framework Version 3.1 contains updated information to assist States as they tackle the once-in-a-generation effort to close the digital divide with substantial federal funding. In partnership with business consulting firm Cartesian, ACA Connects has created a framework that includes precise funding revisions for each State.

“Since initiation of the BEAD program, ACA Connects has endeavored to give States a head start in developing their Initial Proposals and closing the broadband availability gap,” Spellmeyer said. “Version 3.1 of our Framework, by employing actual funding allocations, puts another arrow in each State’s quiver.  It provides more accurate and precise data that States can use to ensure all unserved and underserved locations receive broadband – primarily fiber-to-the-home – connectivity.”

For each State, ACA Connects and Cartesian have produced a report estimating the number of locations that will be eligible for BEAD funding and how many of these locations can be covered with fiber and other broadband technologies. By taking into account the actual amount of funds allocated to each State and the expected provider match, Version 3.1 offers improved guidance to States to help them plan and administer their programs. For example, the $1.2 billion allocated to West Virginia is projected to be sufficient to connect all eligible locations with fiber while generating, with the expected provider match, a surplus of over $500 million that the State can use for other connectivity priorities, and the $813 million allocated to Tennessee along with the expected provider match is projected to be sufficient to connect all eligible locations with fiber and leave a surplus of $323 million. 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 established the BEAD program, which will apportion more than $42 billion in funding among the States, Territories, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, for projects that support broadband infrastructure deployment and adoption. NTIA must determine each State’s and Territory’s allocation, using a formula that relies on the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Map.

ACA Connects is ready to work with State and local government offices to help them understand and apply Version 3.1 of our framework. The analysis for each State also contains a list of ACA Connects Members that operate in that jurisdiction and whom they should contact at ACA Connects and Cartesian.

ACA Connects Members are experienced broadband providers who have deployed advanced networks, including to more economically challenging locations in rural areas.  In addition, they have successfully used federal, State, and local government funding to deploy broadband connectivity to these communities.

About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association –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 31.9 million households, 7.3 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.