NTIA Grants SHLB’s Request to Waive BEAD Letter of Credit Requirement November 01, 2023
For Immediate Release
Contact: Saskya Cabral
Marketing and PR Director
NTIA Grants SHLB’s Request to Waive BEAD Letter of Credit Requirement
Giving States authority to grant waivers will encourage competition from smaller, non-profit and minority-owned ISPs and promote broadband deployment nationwide
Washington, D.C. (November 1, 2023) - The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today issued a new “programmatic waiver” of the letter of credit requirement in the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. Those changes are also described in a blog post NTIA posted earlier today. The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition asked NTIA to “eliminate or waive” the letter of credit requirement in comments it filed along with 47 of its members in August, 2023. SHLB also joined with almost 300 stakeholders in a broader coalition letter issued on September 6, 2023 asking NTIA to consider alternatives to the letter of credit.
The following statement should be attributed to John Windhausen, Jr. Executive Director of the SHLB Coalition:
“We congratulate NTIA for issuing a programmatic waiver of the letter of credit requirement in the BEAD program. The original letter of credit obligation disadvantaged smaller, non-profit, municipal, and community-based organizations that cannot afford to sock away 25% of the project’s costs upfront in addition to providing 25% match funding. The waiver provides states the flexibility to reduce or waive the letter of credit obligations based on meeting certain build-out milestones, which is fiscally prudent while also encouraging a variety of Internet Service Providers to participate in the program. More competition will reduce prices for anchor institutions and will lead to more effective use of the BEAD funds.”
The SHLB Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public interest organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, D.C. and has a diverse membership of non-commercial and commercial organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.