BEAD funding falls short for fiber-only options – study

A study from Wireless 20/20 claims that BEAD funds may not be sufficient to bridge the digital divide using fiber-to-the-home broadband networks. #pressrelease

April 26, 2023

2 Min Read

NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – Wireless 20/20, LLC, a broadband network consulting group and developer of the industry-leading WiROI Broadband Networks Business Case Analysis Tools, today published a White Paper presenting research that shows Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) funds may not be sufficient to bridge the digital divide using fiber-to-the-home broadband networks.

Utilizing their WiROI db Geospatial SaaS Platform, Wireless 20/20 has analyzed the CapEx required for fiber deployments in over 800 counties in the United States. In this White Paper, Wireless 20/20 applied its fiber planning methodology to determine whether the available funding would be sufficient to provide fiber to all unserved locations in ten counties in Georgia. The chosen counties, which are generally south of Atlanta, represent a typical mix of exurban, and rural areas in Georgia where housing density is low, with an average of 1,795 unserved homes in each county.

Wireless 20/20's analysis shows that most states may not have sufficient BEAD funds to bring fiber to every unserved location in every county. States have to determine how to distribute BEAD funding in ways that maximize the number of unserved homes that ultimately receive broadband access. Service providers who plan to apply for BEAD funding will have to examine large areas and calculate fiber access miles needed for ROI analysis. Counties, locations and subsidy levels have to be prioritized in each application. The use of next-generation, fixed wireless access could provide a lower-cost complement to fiber in closing the digital divide. Priorities and choices cannot be made effectively without a map-based analysis that shows, among other things, the access fiber miles needed to connect the unserved locations.

Read the full press release here.

Wireless 20/20

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