WISPA Heralds NTIA Action on BEAD Letter of Credit Requirements

The following quote may be attributed to Louis Peraertz, VP of Policy for WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries:
Washington, DC, November 1, 2023 – WISPA heralds NTIA’s action today to provide other alternatives to its initial BEAD letter of credit (LoC) guidelines.  Allowing subgrantees to use performance bonds in lieu of an LoC, reducing LoC obligations after meeting certain milestones, and allowing lower initial LoC and performance bond percentages will be especially helpful to smaller entities that often find it difficult to obtain LoCs, or to do so on acceptable terms.  
NTIA’s announcement of this important action explicitly recognizes that smaller broadband providers have unique experience in serving America’s hardest-to-reach communities, allowing them to play a significant role in the success of BEAD.  By reducing the cost, complexity and market hurdles to access LoCs, NTIA’s programmatic waiver will improve the pool of available solutions for states, inviting more providers needed to reach the millions of locations that truly lack reliable broadband.  Inviting more providers to help bridge the digital divide equals better outcomes.  This waiver will help smaller players embrace the opportunities within BEAD to reach our un- and underserved farms, manufacturers and service centers, isolated and sparsely-populated communities, Tribal areas, and public institutions, among others.       
NTIA’s action on this matter is greatly welcome – the agency heard WISPA’s and others’ calls for greater flexibility and clarity.  We look forward to carrying this positive momentum forward on to other aspects of the NOFO, so the BEAD program fully benefits from the deployment and technological solutions that WISPA members play a key role in developing. 
About WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries
WISPA’s approximately 1000 members provide fixed broadband connectivity, and include equipment suppliers, support services, and other industry partners and stakeholders. Our members provide broadband access to millions of residential and business customers in rural, urban, and Tribal areas across America.
Mike Wendy