Five more down and only 41 to go. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) handed out $29.5 million worth of broadband planning grants to five states this week, raising the total amount awarded to date to more than $49 million.
Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina and Rhode Island were the lucky awardees. Georgia and North Carolina scored the largest grants, snagging $6.4 million apiece while Iowa got $5.7 million and Delaware and Rhode Island each took home $5.5 million.
The award totals include planning grants for two different broadband initiatives: the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the Digital Equity program. Money for the former can be used to create or expand a state broadband office, conduct coverage mapping or engage in community outreach. The BEAD grants generally make up the larger portion of the overall planning grant total for each state.
So, for instance, North Carolina scored a $5 million BEAD planning grant and a $1.4 million Digital Equity grant. The composition of Georgia’s haul was nearly identical.
All told, the NTIA has handed nine states $49.27 million in planning grants for the pair of programs in recent months. All 50 states were eligible for up to $5 million in BEAD planning grant money, and had to request their allotment by August 15.
Louisiana bagged the first award, which totaled $2.9 million, in August. Ohio got $6.47 million in October, while Nebraska and Idaho received $5.5 million and $4.9 million, respectively, earlier this month.
The planning grants come as states rush to prepare for an influx of federal broadband funding from the BEAD program. The NTIA recently said it plans to announce state allocations from the $42.5 billion pot by June 30, 2023.