WTA Recommends Modifications to NTIA’s BEAD Model Challenge Process

Today, WTA made recommendations to NTIA on its draft Model Challenge Process for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

WTA urged NTIA to strengthen its proposed Deduplication Process to produce more effective targeting of BEAD funds to areas that will otherwise remain unserved or underserved and to both reduce and improve the accuracy of the challenges that will need to be conducted and resolved. In its draft proposal, NTIA notes that states may, but are not required to, consider proposals by service providers to deploy higher speed broadband service in specified areas and to enter into binding agreements with such providers that reflect the higher speed commitment and consider the locations in the specified areas to be served with the higher speeds.  WTA recommends that NTIA require states to enter into these binding agreements should providers wish to commit to buildouts meeting NTIA speed and service standards.

In addition, WTA advised NTIA that 30-day challenge and response periods would be superior to 14-day windows and result in more thorough evaluation of eligible locations and that the challenge process be focused upon actual rural service areas rather than individual locations.