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Broadband maps forecasted for November completion

The maps needed to guide federal telecommunications regulators deploying funding for high-speed broadband infrastructure projects will be ready in November, a Federal Communications Commission spokesperson said May 11, confirming earlier remarks by Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Testifying about the Commerce Department's fiscal year 2023 funding request, Raimondo told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that the FCC was "forecasting possibly November" for completion of the maps. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel previously told a House panel that the maps were slated for completion in the fall.

That marks a delay from the summer estimate that Raimondo told lawmakers in remarks from February.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is the broadband and information policy branch within the Commerce Department that is responsible for providing funding for broadband projects from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law last year. The NTIA cannot fully deploy broadband project dollars without the FCC maps showing which areas of the U.S. remain unserved or underserved.

Of the $65 billion the infrastructure legislation allocated to broadband and telecom affairs, the NTIA is handling some $48 billion for broadband projects in underserved areas of the country. The funding is one of the largest allocated to internet and information policy in the nation's history.

NTIA officials previously said the agency has been meeting with state broadband leaders at least twice a month to ensure strong community engagement and outreach for optimal distribution of dollars for infrastructure funding. Distribution strategies remain under discussion. Raimondo in her testimony to the Appropriations panel said that by May 12, every state will have a point-of-contact on broadband funding.