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Securing BEAD Funding: Strategies for States to Meet the 25% Match Requirement

The federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program provides a historic $42.5 billion in funding for high-speed internet projects across the country to meet ambitious universal internet service goals. Before receiving funding, however, internet service providers (ISPs) must commit to matching at least 25% of their proposed project costs. This 25% matching requirement leaves states with legitimate concerns that some BEAD applicants, especially small and regional ISPs, will be deterred from participating in the program, leaving marginalized, rural, or low-income communities unserved or without affordable options.

Several match strategies are available, and states must consider how to support  BEAD applications and minimize the impact of the subsidy required for a particular project. Subgrantees may be required to provide the full match or may be granted a portion of the match from other federal and state funding sources as permitted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the government agency overseeing the BEAD program.  

In short, the matching funds landscape is complex, but Tilson’s Broadband Consulting team assists state agencies and private entities to navigate and secure required matches to successfully participate in the BEAD program. Unlocking additional match funding is a crucial step for prospective subgrantees and states as they design costly networks in previously unserved and underserved areas. Based on our experience, we outline strategies that states should consider when navigating the challenges of the BEAD match requirements.

Best Practices to Secure Matching Funds

There are opportunities to optimize states’ approach to match in the program design but also through the program implementation leading up to project selection. Tilson’s Broadband Consulting team recommends the following best practices to meet the federal match requirements and  ensure that every unserved location and underserved location in the United States has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet.

To implement effective policies, states must engage stakeholders, and be adaptable with project design, match assistance options, and technical assistance to ensure successful and cost-efficient projects. Managing this design process can be time-consuming but is critical to ensure states make the most of this historic moment.

Partner with Tilson, Your BEAD Expert

The matching requirement is one of many challenges for states and applicants to overcome on their path to successful BEAD implementation. Tilson’s consulting team has experience navigating strict federal and state funding source requirements and can support your team to address matching and application needs, support subgrantees, and help you meet your BEAD goals.

This most significant broadband funding in history will support universal connectivity, and Tilson’s experts can serve as committed partners in ensuring your state’s residents have access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. 

Learn more about our services or contact us to discuss your specific broadband connectivity goals.

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