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The State of North Dakota announced the release of the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Initial Proposals, and Digital Equity (DE) Plan on October 30, 2023. These documents, along with the BEAD 5-Year Action Plan, outlines the state's strategy to improve broadband access and bridge the digital divide across the region.

As part of the planning process, the public can submit comments on the proposals. This inclusive approach aims to gather valuable insights and perspectives, ensuring the final plan addresses the specific needs and concerns of the community. The public comment period will remain open until November 30, 2023. The proposals along with the submission form can be found online at Broadband.nd.gov.

"We believe that every North Dakotan should have access to reliable broadband internet," said North Dakota Broadband Program Director Brian Newby. "Thanks to efforts of North Dakota’s telephone and cable companies, we already are closer to the goal of 100 percent coverage than nearly any other state.

This comment period comes as we finalize our BEAD and DE recommendations to the federal government and represents a significant milestone in our efforts to ensure equitable access to high-speed internet across the state," he said.

The BEAD and DE programs, established by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, has allocated more than $130 million to North Dakota for the development of broadband networks and activities which accelerate broadband adoption. 

"The release of the BEAD Initial Proposals and DE Plan is a pivotal moment for North Dakota's technological future. These documents lay the groundwork for a more connected, inclusive, and equitable digital landscape. The BEAD and DE programs, fueled by federal support, mark our commitment to ensuring every North Dakotan has access to reliable broadband internet,” said Craig Felchle, chief technology officer, North Dakota Information Technology. “We encourage everyone to join us in this effort, submit their comments, and help us shape a digital future that leaves no one behind."

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