Help America Advance its National Objective of Broadband Access for All!
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce is soliciting experts to evaluate grant proposals for three broadband connectivity programs that will award over $1.5 billion to further national broadband goals and assist with COVID response and recovery efforts.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, directed NTIA to implement the following programs:
- Broadband Infrastructure Program. A $300 million broadband deployment program directed to partnerships between a State, or one or more political subdivisions of a State, and providers of fixed broadband service to support broadband infrastructure deployment to areas lacking broadband, especially rural areas.
- Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. A $1 billion program directed to Tribal Governments, among other eligible entities, to deploy broadband on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.
- Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. A $285 million pilot grant program targeting HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and their anchor communities for the purchase of broadband internet access service, or any eligible equipment, or to hire and train information technology personnel.
For updates on these programs, please see: https://broadbandusa.ntia.gov.
NTIA will conduct a merit review of applications submitted to these programs. The merit review will involve teams of technical experts that evaluate applications against established review criteria specific to each program.
NTIA is seeking qualified volunteers with expertise and experience in at least one of the following areas:
- Broadband networks, using appropriate terrestrial or wireless technologies, and network sustainability
- Broadband network planning and design
- Broadband network construction and deployment costs and construction timeframes
- Broadband network workforce development
Broadband Use and Digital Inclusion
- Telehealth, distance learning, broadband adoption and digital inclusion programs including equipment, networks, training and outreach
- Telework, workforce development and online entrepreneurship programs
- Low-income discount and subsidized broadband programs
- Planning, program design and evaluation for telehealth, distance education, workforce development and digital inclusion programs
- Programs and activities noted above that are conducted by Minority Serving Institutions
NTIA expects to stagger the application deadlines for each program; however, we currently project that merit reviews for these programs will start in September and extend into November. We are committed to ensuring that reviewers come from diverse backgrounds and areas of the United States. Please feel free to circulate this “Call for Reviewers” to other individuals or organizations that may be sources of qualified reviewers.
To volunteer as a reviewer, please email a resume containing the information below to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Residence (city and state)
- Email/phone number
- Employer(s) including states you were employed in
- Years and types of experience and positions in fields related to broadband activities
In your email, please also let us know which NTIA programs interest you or align best with your expertise.
Over the coming months, NTIA will examine and approve reviewer applications on a first-come, first-served basis based on qualifications that match the needs of each program. We request that you submit your application by July 31, 2021. Upon selection as a merit reviewer, you must submit signed Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality forms in accordance with Department of Commerce policies on conflicts of interest and confidentiality. Additionally, reviewers will not be compensated and will need to sign a waiver of compensation. Approved reviewers will be contacted to schedule participation in a webinar orientation session and teleconference panel reviews.
Although you will not be compensated for your time and expertise, you will be making a significant contribution to enhancing broadband services throughout the United States. We appreciate the valuable contribution you will be making to the success of the programs and look forward to working with you as a reviewer. If you have questions, please send them by email to: email@example.com.