BEAD Program FAQ

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program aims to expand access to high-speed internet to otherwise underserved and unserved areas of the nation, including in Texas. This list below includes Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) to help inform municipal officials about this important federal program.



What is the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program?

The BEAD Program is a federal grant program which aims to expand high-speed Internet access by providing $42.45 billion to build infrastructure, develop broadband action plans, and support programs meant to promote user adoption of new networks.


How will BEAD funds be allocated?

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) determined on June 26, 2023, how it will allocate funding among the 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.


How much funding did the NTIA allocate to Texas?

Texas is the largest BEAD award recipient, receiving $3.31 billion.


Who oversees the allocation of these funds across Texas?

The Broadband Development Office (BDO) will oversee the allocation of BEAD funds and has created a competitive process for potential sub-recipients to apply for funding.


Who are eligible subrecipients?

Eligible subrecipients include local governments, nonprofit organizations, and Internet service providers (ISPs). However, under Texas Government Code Section 4901.0106(d)(2), the BDO may not award a grant, loan, or other financial incentive to a noncommercial provider of broadband service for a broadband serviceable location if an eligible commercial provider has submitted an application for the same location.


Will the BDO prioritize certain locations when allocating BEAD funds across Texas?

The BDO will prioritize unserved locations that have no Internet access or have access under 25/3 Mbps and underserved locations that only have access under 100/20 Mbps. The BDO will also encourage inclusion of community anchor institutions (CAIs) with the network buildout.


What is a Community Anchor Institution?

A Community Anchor Institution (CAI) includes schools, libraries, health clinics, health centers, hospitals or other medical providers, public safety entities, institutions of higher education, and public housing organizations or community support organizations that facilitate greater use of broadband service by vulnerable populations.


What is the Texas Broadband Development Map?

The Texas Broadband Development Map is a comprehensive address-level map showing broadband availability data within the state. The purpose of this map is to identify eligible areas for funding projects, and it will be subject to challenges and updates as part of the overall BEAD program. According to BDO officials, the office will adopt data from the FCC’s National Broadband Map, found here, for the Texas map to ensure the use of the latest broadband data. However, the BDO also continues developing a stand-alone map that will feature separate information not included in the national map — such as information pertaining to the location of school campuses. This stand-alone map will be released during the spring of 2024.


Has the period for which to apply for BEAD funding begun yet?

No. The NTIA has not yet approved the state’s BEAD Initial Proposal, which was submitted to the federal agency on December 23, 2023.


What happens after the NTIA approves the Initial Proposal?

Once the NTIA approves the Initial Proposal, the BEAD Challenge Process will begin shortly thereafter.


What is the BEAD Challenge Process?

The BEAD Challenge Process allows eligible subgrantees, including political subdivisions, to challenge certain determinations made by the BDO. The state’s Initial Proposal submitted to the NTIA lists all available challenge types, including those addressing availability, speed, and technology.


How does a political subdivision participate in the BEAD Challenge Process?

Local governments, nonprofit organizations, and ISPs will only have 14 days to submit their challenges. Political subdivisions wishing to make a challenge must first obtain a Tier E License from the NTIA. This license will give eligible entities access to broadband serviceable location data.


What is needed to apply for a Tier E license?

A Tier E license is intended for units of local government, nonprofit organizations, and certain other organizations wishing to participate in the BEAD Challenge process. To access the license, your organization must certify that it meets Tier E requirements. Among the requirements is an FCC registration number. More information can be found at:


How long will the Challenge Process last?

The Challenge Process will last 120 days.


What happens after the Challenge Process?

After the completion of the Challenge Process, results will be submitted to the NTIA for review and approval of the determinations by the BDO. Afterwards, the sub-grantee selection process will begin.


Will the BDO inform local governments of the progress of the Challenge Process?

It’s supposed to. In Volume 1 of the Initial Proposal submitted to the NTIA, the BDO states that it will “actively inform all units of local government of its challenge process and set up regular touchpoints to address any comments.” Similarly, as outlined in Volume 1 of its proposal, the BDO pledges to post a “Transparency Plan” that provides an overview of the Challenge Process phases, timelines, and instructions.


What is the sub-grantee selection process?

The BDO will implement a sub-grantee selection process which will result in awards to sub-grantees that accomplish the goals of the BEAD Program. This process is expected to take at least one year and will involve sub-grantees submitting a formal application for funding. The Initial Proposal outlines how this process will take place.


How will the BDO evaluate sub-grantee applications?

The BDO included a grading rubric that it will use when evaluating sub-grantee applications. Notably, this rubric mentions that eligible applicants must cover no less than 25 percent of the project cost.


Will sub-grantees be able to challenge the BDO’s determinations?

Yes. However, application challenges will be limited to the following bases: (i) the applicant is ineligible to receive an award; (ii) the applicant contains broadband-serviceable locations that are not eligible to receive funding because of an existing federal, state or local commitment to deploy qualifying broadband service to the location; or (iii) the applicant is ineligible to receive an award based on the criteria prescribed by the BDO. Ultimately, the BDO will publish a Final Proposal, which will include a list of projects. There will be a 30-day comment period where responses will be incorporated into the final draft of the Final Proposal to the NTIA.