Since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released the first version of its new broadband map, service providers throughout the nation are probably rushing to figure out how much money each state will receive from the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. According to projections made by the industry group ACA Connects, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Rhode Island will benefit the least from the program, while California, Texas, and Florida stand to gain the most.
Each state will get a base allocation of $100 million under the BEAD program, and additional cash will be distributed based on the number of unserved areas in each state. There will be, in accordance with the research that consulting firm Cartesian created for ACA Connects, there will be an estimated 11.7 million unserved locations across the U.S. in 2023 when the money is divvied up and states will receive an average of $743 million in BEAD funding. Unserved locations were classified as those which did not have access to speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.
According to the report, California will receive the greatest share of BEAD funding—a total of $3.5 billion—to service an estimated 581,800 underserved sites with speeds of less than 100/20 Mbps and another 299,700 unserved locations.
Texas won’t lag behind too long. It is anticipated that it will get about $3.2 billion in BEAD support in order to reach 574,200 underserved and 531,800 unserved sites. Meanwhile, Florida was expected to get $2.3 billion to reach 484,100 underserved and 294,600 unserved regions.
To be clear, the Cartesian calculations did not use the FCC’s updated broadband map. Instead, to estimate the number of locations eligible for BEAD funding, the company began with outdated Form 477 data, added unserved locations from a BroadbandNow study, subtracted locations covered by commitments from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), and took into account estimates for locations anticipated to be covered by privately-funded builds.
Given the modifications the FCC has made to its coverage data collection procedure, it is unlikely that the Cartesian figures will match the final BEAD estimates exactly, but they do provide a starting point for understanding where funding is most likely to be concentrated. According to ACA Connects, it does intend to revise its projections using the new FCC maps, but noted that effort could take several more weeks given the maps were only just unveiled.
In the original Cartesian analysis, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Rhode Island were identified as the states that BEAD will assist the least.
For the 30,400 unserviced locations, Massachusetts was predicted to receive $169 million; for the 7,900 unserviced locations in Delaware, $128 million; and for the 695 unserviced locations in Rhode Island, $104 million.
With Delaware awarding $56 million to Comcast, Verizon, and Mediacom in March to reach 11,000 unserved locations there, all three states have been working to achieve universal broadband coverage. And just last month, Massachusetts received $145 million from the Capital Projects Fund for its Broadband Infrastructure Gap Networks Grant Program, which will be used to cover an estimated 16,000 underserved locations.