Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program Funding

Strategic Guidance for BEAD and Beyond

Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program funding is a transformative opportunity for broadband providers and the unserved Americans who stand to benefit. Here, guidance from the Vantage Point team on how to approach this unprecedented opportunity.

BEAD the Clock: Tomorrow’s Plans, Today

5 Steps to Prepare for $42.5 Billion in Broadband Funding

BEAD funding – the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program – is not a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for broadband providers. It’s a “once” opportunity, and the clock is already ticking. While policy makers and state offices finalize their plans in the coming months, for network operators, it’s time to take action with five key areas of preparation.

By Nathan Weber, PE
VP of Engineering

1. Look at the Map

Where do you want to expand? Examine your existing territory, strategic plans, and eligibility maps to identify potential areas of application. Vantage Point recommends a “go big or go home” attitude: you can always slim down your vision, but it’s hard to expand your plans later.

2. Develop Preliminary Plans

What does your preliminary network layout look like? Greenfield fiber? An upgrade? Buried or aerial construction? If it’s aerial, is make-ready necessary? is it all contained in one state, or multiple? Answering these questions allows you to develop initial engineering designs, necessary to strategizing for BEAD applications.

These initial designs also allow for capital expenditure estimates and pre-planning construction hurdles. How much will it cost to build? How will inflation and prevailing wage requirements impact the cost? What services will be offered? Do you have additional building obligations to work around? Can you get a start on permitting or environmental headaches? You don’t have to wait for state guidelines to start wrestling with these issues.

3. Financial Feasibility

With CapEx estimates in place, examining project-specific feasibility will help you prioritize different areas to optimize application scoring. Your feasibility should hold a 10-year view, accounting for end user revenues, which will clarify the lowest amount of funding needed. Again, this information is powerful when optimizing scoring strategies.

4. Cybersecurity & Supply Chain Risk Management

A Cybersecurity Risk Management Plan and a Supply Chain Risk Management Plan will both be required for BEAD. Putting them in place now gets them off your plate. Note they must both be operational or ready to be operational upon providing services. You’ll need to submit the plan to the State prior to the allocation of funds.

5. Engage Community Leaders

It takes time to build relationships and trust. Have these conversations before you “need” them: Ask local leaders about their needs; how a BEAD-funded network would impact them; what economic impact it could have. These can be city, county, or township governments; local stakeholders; anchor institutions; or simply influential community members.

BEAD is one component of a bigger discussion.

Let’s start that conversation here.

Learn more about how Vantage Point can be your BEAD partner.

BEAD: Compliance & Reporting

Don’t panic, we’re here to help. Hear from Vantage Point Senior Analyst, Tammie Herrlein, as she discuss three highlights for BEAD compliance and reporting: Locations, Low Cost Option, and Service Attributes.

BEAD: Workforce Requirements

BEAD is a “once” opportunity, and it comes with many requirements. Workforce requirements represent an area that may be new waters for ISPs. Vantage Point Analyst, Shelby Pardy, provides a framework on how to tackle this piece of your application.

BEAD: Build America, Buy America (BABA)

While the Build America, Buy America Act has some new requirements when it comes to material procurement and sourcing, this is not the first time we’ve navigated these rules. Here, Assistant Director of Engineering, Eric Rajchel, P.E., discusses how Vantage Point is here to help you on the road to BEAD funding.

BEAD: Cybersecurity & Supply Chain Risk Management

There are many questions regarding cybersecurity and supply chain risk management requirements for BEAD applications. The plans must be operational before you are awarded the funding. Andy Deinert, Director of Network & Security Services, discusses details.

BEAD: Partnerships

Kristy Szabo, Director of Consulting for Vantage Point Solutions, discusses ways for you to consider the role partnerships can play in your BEAD application strategy. There is no “one sizes fits all” and it takes time to develop trust. Vantage Point has the right tools to explore strong partnership opportunities.

BEAD: Area Eligibility & Strategy

BEAD is a great opportunity, but many companies are unsure how to start. Join Nathan Weber, P.E., VP of Engineering, as he discusses steps in identifying eligible areas for your company.

BEAD: State Challenge Process

Vantage Point’s Mikaela Burma, J.D., Manager of Regulatory and Legal, discusses the BEAD State Challenge Process. She highlights how locations play a role in the BEAD awards and the role you can play in promoting the accuracy of those locations.

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