FCC, USDA, NTIA Announce Agreement on Broadband Deployment Programs

On Friday, June 25, 2021, the FCC, USDA, and NTIA (the “Agencies”) entered into an Interagency Agreement (“the Agreement”) that requires interagency coordination for the distribution of funds in various broadband deployment programs.  The Agreement covers funds distributed as part of the FCC’s High-Cost Program—including the Universal Service Support for High-Cost Areas program, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the Interstate Common Line Support Mechanism for Rate-of-Return Carriers, the Mobility Fund and 5G Fund, and the High Cost Loop Support for Rate-of-Return Carriers program—the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service’s programs, and the NTIA’s programs.

The Agreement requires the Agencies to share information with each other about existing or planned projects that have or will receive funds for new broadband deployment under the assorted programs.  Specifically, the Agencies, upon request, must provide the other Agencies with information regarding their program’s project area including: each entity that provides broadband service, the speed and technologies provided, the geographic scope of broadband coverage, and the name of each entity that has or will receive funds through the program.  The Agreement also requires the Agencies to consider basing the distribution of funds for broadband deployment under the programs on standardized data regarding coverage.

The Agreement took effect June 25, 2021.  

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