May 30, 2024

ACA Connects Urges NTIA to Promote Competition with Market-Driven Standards in BEAD 

May 30, 2024—ACA Connects President and CEO Grant Spellmeyer is urging the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to make sure small and medium-sized wireline broadband providers have a fair opportunity to compete in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program (BEAD).  

In a new letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson, Spellmeyer writes that “overly restrictive and burdensome requirements” when offering low-cost service options will deter competition and investment in unserved and underserved communities. 

Key Excerpt: “The small and medium-sized wireline broadband providers represented by ACA Connects are eager to participate in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program (BEAD), but they will be deterred if they must comply with overly restrictive or burdensome requirements to offer and administer the “low-cost service option.”  Fewer participants in BEAD will mean less competition for funds, less fiber deployment, and a heightened risk of stranding Americans on the wrong side of the digital divide.  We urge the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to keep these concerns front-and-center as it reviews and approves State and Territory plans for low-cost service options. 

[…] 

“If NTIA wants to promote broad participation in the program – including from community-based broadband providers with vast experience and strong track records serving rural America – it should favor plans for the low-cost service option that reflect marketplace reality.  To be clear, that would not mean abandoning the agency’s oversight responsibilities.  On the contrary, NTIA can and should ensure that States and Territories apply reasonable, market-driven standards and benchmarks for low-cost service options.

Letter to NTIA Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson 
Published May 30, 2024