NRECA Asks Federal Agency for Rural-Friendly Broadband Grants Rules

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) recently sent a letter to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) arguing that broadband grants worth $300 million should only go toward proven technologies, and some rural areas should remain eligible for this funding even if they have won awards in other specific federal efforts to bridge the digital divide. The February 17 letter incorporates concerns that regions covered by initial winners in the Federal Communication Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction and similar programs will be locked out of new broadband funding if an RDOF grantee proves unable to provide adequate service. NRECA also recommended that NTIA consider the far-reaching impacts of the pandemic on supply chains and labor and, if necessary, allow grantees to spend funds beyond the program’s one-year deadline.

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