Treasury Guidance Update on Broadband
U.S. Treasury has posted a number of FAQs on the broadband provision of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds’ Interim Final Rule (IFR). This FAQ update provides answers to questions raised by a number of stakeholders, including county officials, on eligible areas for broadband infrastructure investment. The update clarifies that states and localities may invest in areas where not all households or businesses are unserved or underserved, as long as an objective of the project is to provide service to unserved or underserved households or businesses. Further, it clarifies that the use of “reliably” in the broadband provision of the IFR provides states and localities with significant discretion to assess the actual experience of users on the ground.
Specifically, the FAQ update addresses the following questions:
- For broadband infrastructure investments, what does the requirement that infrastructure “be designed to” provide service to unserved or underserved households and businesses mean?
- For broadband infrastructure to provide service to “unserved or underserved households or businesses,” must every house or business in the service area be unserved or underserved?
- For broadband infrastructure investments, what does the requirement to “reliably” meet or exceed a broadband speed threshold mean?
- May recipients use payments from the Funds for “middle mile” broadband projects?
County officials are encouraged to submit comments for the record to ensure that their perspectives are reflected in the public comments during the 60-day public comment period on the IFR. These comments will be considered as part of the process for revising the rule. If you have any questions, please contact John Wienges, SCAC Governmental Affairs Liaison, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 664-0774.