NTIA Gets $5B-Plus in Requests for $1B Broadband Subsidy

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(Image credit: Tim Robberts/Getty Images)

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration says it has applications for over $5 billion in grants for its Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program (opens in new tab). Problem is, it only has $1 billion to hand out, so NTIA will have to cull the herd, as it were.

It has also moved the middle mile application deadline for areas affected by Hurricane Ian.

Middle mile is the plant that connects major broadband networks to local ones.

NTIA said Tuesday that it has gotten 245 applications totaling $5.5 billion in funding requests for projects that "connect high-speed internet networks to each other and reduce the cost of bringing internet service to communities that lack it."

NTIA chief Alan Davidson called middle mile plant the internet's "connective tissue," and NTIA's program a "force multiplier" for that connectivity. "The volume of applications we received demonstrates the high demand for increasing middle mile capacity throughout the country,” he said. It also suggests NTIA will need more money to connect all that tissue.

Applications were due Sept. 30 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis and start handing out the money no later than March of 2023.

NTIA said that it would move the Sept. 30 application deadline to Nov. 30 for projects that would deploy to Puerto Rico and parts of Florida, South Carolina (all impacted by Hurricane Ian), and parts of Alaska. ▪️

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.