Tuesday, May 16, 2023

FCC Releases Broadband Funding Map

As required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, yesterday the FCC released the Broadband Funding Map, a companion to the National Broadband Map intended to "to provide a locations overview of the overall geographic footprint of each broadband infrastructure deployment project funded by the Federal Government."

However, and as I highlighted in "Wasteful Duplication by Design: A Case Study on Overlapping Federal Broadband Subsidies," a recent Perspectives from FSF Scholars, the Broadband Funding Map's ability to prevent overbuilding and redundant funding is curtailed significantly by conflicting eligibility requirements across subsidy programs – including inconsistent minimum speed thresholds and exclusionary lists of approved distribution technologies – that open the door to duplication.

For the record, the Broadband Funding Map describes the neighborhood in the foothills west of Denver that was the focus of my case study as "Not Funded." Given that many federal funding sources, including the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, have not yet begun doling out dollars, this perhaps is not surprising.

I intend to revisit the Broadband Funding Map periodically as more funding decisions are made. Stay tuned.