The NTIA requires that Eligible Entities include “speed of network and other technical capabilities” as scoring criteria for non-priority last mile projects.

As a reminder, non-priority last mile projects use technologies other than fiber-to-the-premises, or FTTP. Technological characteristics that can be assessed in this category include speeds, latency, and the useful life of the infrastructure.

There are also a small number of states that also include this category for priority (FTTP) projects — awarding more points for XGS-PON deployments (the most advanced fiber technology) over G-PON deployments (an earlier version of fiber technology), for example. However this category is mostly relevant to applicants deploying alternative technologies, which will play a big role in many states that don’t have enough funding to serve everyone with fiber. 

Strategies for completing this section 

An applicant’s strategy in this category heavily depends on how much weight states give this category in non-priority projects, especially compared to the weight given to BEAD outlay. In some states, significant points are given to speed of network, and in others, almost no points are, which should change an applicant’s strategy. 

An example of the latter case is Montana, which allocates only one point for alternative (non-FTTP) technologies that exceed the state’s minimum threshold of 250/50 Mbps. Therefore, in Montana, it matters much more how much your deployment will cost than the technology you use and the speeds you can achieve. 

Colorado, on the other hand, awards up to 11 points in this category, evaluating the type of technology, speed, latency, useful life of infrastructure, and cost efficiency (see tables below). Fixed wireless proposals will be less competitive in this category than hybrid fiber coaxial, and unlicensed fixed wireless will be less competitive than licensed.

However, each time you lose points by opting for a technology that scores worse in this category, you are likely gaining points by reducing the cost of your deployment. Applicants will need to determine through their own planning whether the cost savings of deploying a slower but cheaper technology outweighs the loss of points in the speed of network category. 


Questions? Get in touch. 

If you have any additional questions or would like help with your BEAD application, please contact us.