Build a buffer is Shelby Pardy’s advice to operators thinking of participating in NTIA’s BEAD (Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment) program. Pardy, an analyst for Vantage Point Solutions, points out this is more than budgeting extra dollars for inflationary pressures. It means dealing with new rules such as workforce diversity/training, climate resiliency, and sourcing requirements (Build/Buy America).
In the above interview, filmed at NTCA’s 2023 SRC Live, Pardy recommends starting the planning process early. As part of this effort, it is important to collaborate with community leaders who will support an operator’s application. These leaders may reside outside the community that will be directly served. That is, remote work opportunities, as well as school and other government districts often overlap served, underserved, and unserved areas.
She is optimistic that many of their ISP clients will extend their networks using BEAD funding. As the states finalize their rules within the NTIA’s framework the details will become clearer. The evolving BEAD requirements are sure to keep Pardy and her VPS colleagues busy for a long time.