Tue, 13 Feb 2024

Understanding BEAD Funding and how your organization can take advantage 

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It’s time to bridge the digital divide, and BEAD funding stands as a formidable financial solution to help achieve the shared vision of a connected nation. 

The world may be rapidly advancing towards digitalization and technological revolution, but rural areas often remain left behind. Many telecommunication companies invest in urban and suburban areas, leaving rural parts of the country to rely on outdated technologies with limited connectivity options. However, the federal government has recognized this issue and is offering funding opportunities to rural telco operators to provide reliable broadband connectivity to underserved areas. One such opportunity is through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program established through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Let’s take a closer look at BEAD funding and what it means for you in 2024. 

What is BEAD funding?  

BEAD funding is a grant program that provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs in all 50 states in the USA. Administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), it is designed to provide funds to rural telco companies to expand into unserved/underserved areas. This funding is available for the improvement and expansion of broadband services in rural areas, and funds can be used to purchase equipment, fund infrastructure projects, and other necessary tools such as planning software. It’s important to note that each state will have its own distinct planning and reporting needs. 

How are unserved and underserved areas defined?  

“Unserved” locations are defined as those without access to 25-megabit-per-second (Mbps) download service and 3-Mbps uploads, commonly expressed as 25/3-Mbps service. “Underserved” areas refer to those without access to 100/20-Mbps service.  

How can VertiGIS telco solutions support you?  

As applications for BEAD funding open in the coming years, rural telco operators should review their readiness for the program and consider applying for funding to deliver fast and reliable broadband to rural America. To make a proposal in the future, VertiGIS M4 Solutions can support you with these functionalities:  

  • Network planning and design: Use M4 Fiber Planner to estimate cost and create an initial design of your growing network. 
  • Work order generation: Use M4 Work Order to plan network expansion from end-to-end, including physical cable path, associated strands, and OSP/ISP port connections. Generate a Bill of Materials (BOM) needed to put your plans into action! 
  • Configurable report generation: When it’s time to apply for funding, you’ll need to add specific reports to your proposal. VertiGIS M4 gives you the ability to easily configure reports and export data so you have the right information at hand any time. 

Note: The distribution of funds differs by state, so you’ll need to submit multiple applications that follow different regulations for each if your territory spans across states. As things get more complex, relying on software becomes crucial to easily access important info, such as data exports. 

Of course, these are helpful tools for any telco operator outside of the BEAD funding application process. Whether you’re looking to expand your network or simply gain more operational efficiency, you can learn more about VertiGIS M4 Solutions here


One of the most significant advantages of BEAD funding is that it allows eligible rural telecommunication operators to access funds for broadband infrastructural development that they may not have been able to access before — a win-win scenario for operators and rural communities as it helps the provider increase its ROI and provides the much-needed access to digital technologies for rural residents This funding program allows for greater investment in network expansion or modernization that may have proven challenging or unaffordable without the financial assistance of BEAD. To make your application as stress-free as possible, you can rely on best-in-class fiber management software, such as VertiGIS M4.  

Do you want to talk to the experts for designing, planning, and operating your network? Reach out to us now. 

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