The NTIA is working with other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to streamline permit approval processes, but the agency is concerned that permitting at the state level could potentially be a “bigger issue,” Davidson said.
When states submit plans to the NTIA for how they plan to distribute their BEAD allocations, they will be required to include the steps they will take to ease their permitting processes, he said.
“It’s one of the homework assignments [that states will have to complete], and we’re going to take it pretty seriously,” he said.
As a steward for billions of dollars in federal funding to move the needle on broadband access and adoption, the NTIA “needs all hands on deck to make this work,” Davidson said.
He said the NTIA also wants to ensure that the Affordable Connectivity Program — a Federal Communications Commission program that subsidizes internet bills for low-income households — “continues to thrive.”