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Regulatory/Politics

New ACA Connects CEO on drawing a bead on BEAD

PHILADELPHIA – SCTE CABLE-TEC EXPO 2022 – With about $42.45 billion up for grabs in the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, telcos and cable operators both big and small are expected to step up and make a run at funding earmarked to bring broadband to unserved and underserved areas.

Educating and preparing independent US cable operators for BEAD is one of the major tasks underway at ACA Connects, an organization that helps those companies navigate the tricky and sticky aspects of the telecom regulatory environment.

Grant Spellmeyer, the new president and CEO of ACA Connects who took over for long-time organization leader Matt Polka, joined us here at the show to discuss his top priorities, how he thinks the organization's membership can benefit from his mobile and wireless background (he most recently was with UScellular) and the work underway for members to get ready for BEAD.

BEAD, he said, is a "different animal" in terms of scope, the nature of data collected and the size of the funding when compared to other government subsidy programs, such as the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

In addition to helping members navigate those processes, Spellmeyer said he and his organization will also try to ensure that there's a "level playing field" for smaller, independent operators that compete for BEAD grants.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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