• NTIA Finalizes BEAD ‘Buy America’ WaiversWith the waiver now finalized, the NTIA is waiving a program requirement that certain electronics and equipment used in broadband projects funded by the BEAD program be domestically sourced in the United States. Read more
  • USDA Extends ReConnect Round 5 Application Deadline. The Department of Agriculture extended by 30 days the deadline to submit applications for the fifth round of the ReConnect rural broadband funding program, pushing the deadline to May 21. Beginning March 22, internet service providers, state and local governments, rural electric cooperatives, and other eligible entities will have 60 days to apply for loans up to $50 million or grants up to $25 million to support broadband infrastructure initiatives in rural areas. The funding from USDA’s ReConnect Loan and Grant Program will amount to $700 million if all available money is fully utilized.
  • Charter potentially eyes merger with Altice USA. Looks like Charter might be eyeing a takeover of fellow cable rival Altice USA. Sources told Bloomberg that Charter is working with financial advisors to determine if it makes sense to buy Altice. But there’s no telling if Charter would actually go through with the plan. Both Altice and Charter declined to comment. However according to New Street Research’s Jonathan Chaplin, a Charter-Altice merger makes sense given their respective footprints. Read more.
  • FCC Urged to Grant Amnesty for RDOF Recipients Nearly 70 broadband experts, internet service providers, state and local officials, and nonprofits jointly urged the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday to grant limited amnesty to RDOF recipients so that those communities are eligible to receive BEAD funding.

As outlined by the guidelines of the $42.5-billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment federal initiative aimed at expanding high-speed internet access, communities that have previously obtained grants from other federal broadband initiatives, including the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunities Fund and Connect America Fund II, are ineligible from accessing any portion of the funding allocated under BEAD.

  • Alabama is getting a major open access fiber boost via private investment. Meridiam, an infrastructure investment firm, is kicking off a $230 million project to build an open access network that will reach 17 Alabama cities, including Selma and Demopolis. Read more.

David Levine of UCL Swift headshot

Broadband Bytes is a regular feature by David Levine. David is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, a certified BICSI RCDD, and a 35-year industry veteran in fiber and copper solutions. He currently works as a Business Development Manager for UCL Swift.

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