There’s enough Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) money – $42.45 billion – to bring fiber to the vast majority of underserved and unserved locations in US states and territories, according to a study based on the FCC’s new broadband mapping data. The research comes from ACA Connects, in partnership with the business consulting firm Cartesian, and provides a framework for how each state and territory can spend BEAD funds on fixed broadband projects to connect their unserved and underserved residents.
The first version of the framework relied on census-block-level FCC Form 477 data — but the updated framework is more precise, using location-specific data.
In addition to providing an updated accounting of eligible locations, as well as projected BEAD funding and costs based on different fiber deployment scenarios, the study estimates the share of BEAD money that each state or territory will get. Of interest, based on a “reasonable business case,” the study figures that recipient providers will contribute $22 billion in total matching funds. Thus, combined with the $42 billion from Congress, the framework estimates that $64 billion total will be available for BEAD projects.
As Light Reading explains, “The study also outlines a ‘Baseline Fiber’ approach that deploys fiber only to locations at or below an ‘extremely high-cost threshold’ of $9,000 per location used for the purposes of the analysis, and a ‘Maximum Fiber’ approach that deploys fiber to additional, higher-cost locations.” ACA Connects concludes, “In both scenarios, the vast majority of eligible locations receive fiber, and a substantial share of the $64 billion in total available funds is left over for broadband adoption and other initiatives.”
Check out ACA Connects’ state-by-state and territory-by-territory analysis.