NTIA Gets $49 Million in FY2016 Budget

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration will get $49.23 million in 2016, according to President Obama's budget, released today (Feb. 2).

The NTIA is teaming up with the Federal Communications Commission to free up spectrum for wireless, and a senior Commerce Department official told Multichannel News that NTIA's section of the budget will include "support for the President's vision of bringing 50 MHz of spectrum, broadband competition to communities around the country and connecting over 99% of schools to high-speed broadband connections through the ConnectED initiative to create quality jobs throughout the country."

The NTIA put in a plug for pre-empting muni broadband laws.

"The President’s broadband vision — supported by the Budget — of freeing up 500 MHz of federal spectrum, promoting broadband competition in communities throughout the country, removing state laws barring local telecommunications investment, and connecting over 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband connections through the ConnectED initiative will create thousands of quality jobs and ensure that students have access to the best educational tools available," the NTIA said.

With the $4 billion BTOP grant program drawing to a close, the NTIA will expand its BroadbandUSA initiative using lessons learned from that program including "offering "online and in-person technical assistance to communities, hosting a series of regional workshops around the country, and publishing guides and toolkits that provide communities with proven solutions to overcome obstacles to increase broadband access and adoption in communities looking to expand their communications infrastructure."

Per the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, NTIA said in 2016 it will issue an RFP for the development of FirstNet, the first responder interoperable broadband network that the AWS-3 auction has now paid for in full and then some.

"The Budget demonstrates the Administration’s continued commitment to broadband telecommunications as a driver of economic development, job creation, technological innovation, and enhanced public safety," NTIA said.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.