Vol. 18, No. 9
February 28, 2022
Sens. Introduce Broadband Buildout Accountability Act
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), along with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ranking Member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, last week introduced the Broadband Buildout Accountability Act.

The Act would increase transparency for a $42 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Package (BIF) broadband buildout grant awarded to the NTIA, which is currently exempted from transparency requirements under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Sen. Scott’s Broadband Buildout Accountability Act would remove the FOIA exemption and require proof of how the $42 billion is spent to ensure taxpayer dollars are not misused. Sens. Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, Shelley Moore Capito, Ted Cruz, Deb Fischer, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Cynthia Lummis, Jerry Moran, Dan Sullivan, John Thune and Todd Young have also cosponsored the bill.
Senate Bill to Make Broadband Supply Chain Transparent
Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) introduced the Network Equipment Transparency (NET) Act, a bipartisan bill to increase broadband supply chain transparency in order to ensure an on-time rollout of the broadband programs managed by the FCC. The bill would identify these supply chain issues earlier so they can be addressed.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill was a big step toward connecting every house to affordable, high-speed internet,” said Sen. Hickenlooper. “Now we have to make sure broadband projects are completed on time. Rural Americans have waited long enough for quality internet.”

Specifically, the bill would require the FCC’s Annual Broadband Deployment Report to describe to Congress the impact of supply chain disruptions on the deployment of broadband service.
The Senate is also working to reinforce supply chains by passing the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which would provide an emergency appropriation of $52 billion to boost American semiconductor chip manufacturing and $1.5 billion for Open-Radio Access Network (Open-RAN) technologies.
NTIA to Host Pre-NOFO Technical Assistance Webinars
NTIA will host a pre-Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) technical assistance webinar series starting next month through May in connection with the five new broadband grant programs authorized and funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA): The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program; the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program; and the Digital Equity Act Programs, which include the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program, and Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program.

These pre-NOFO technical assistance webinars are designed to help prospective applicants understand NTIA’s IIJA broadband grant programs and to assist applicants to prepare high quality grant applications.

NTIA Webinar Schedule
  • Webinar #1: Wednesday, March 9, 2022, from 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET
  • Webinar #2: Wednesday, March 23, 2022, from 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET
  • Webinar #3: Wednesday, April 6, 2022, from 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET
  • Webinar #4: Wednesday, April 27, 2022, from 2:30 4:00 p.m. ET
  • Webinar #5: Wednesday, May 11, 2022, from 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET.

These webinars will be hosted via NTIA’s virtual platform and conducted as live webinars. NTIA will post the registration information on its BroadbandUSA website as soon as the virtual platform is finalized.