Credit unions are eligible to participate the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, a $42.5 billion program to expand high-speech internet access, under a waiver issued this week by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The original language for internet service providers (ISPs) seeking credit as part of the grant process from financial institutions to expand capacity only mentioned a “U.S. bank,” but the waiver updates the language to include credit unions insured by NCUA.
“We thank the NTIA for issuing this waiver, which ensures credit unions can continue to do what they do best: meet their community’s needs, whatever they may be,” said CUNA Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Federal Government Affairs Jason Stverak. “Credit unions share policymakers’ goal of expanding affordable, reliable high-speed internet access, and many have relationships with entities that serve their communities already in place.”
Under the BEAD Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), ISPs in all U.S. states and territories are eligible for grants to “build and deploy high-speed internet networks” and to “to operate those networks for years to come,” with a focus on rural areas.