Second attempt at rural broadband expansion program could be approved this week

After re-examining and exploring how it wants to spend $382 million in government money for an expansion and improvement of  internet service in rural Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Broadband Governing Board could vote this week on redrafted proposals.

The Board is to meet Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. to consider an agenda that includes a possible vote on the initial proposal for what is known as the BEAD or Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program.

The Broadband Office had prepared an initial plan on expenditure of the money that came from the federal government. But in August, Executive Director Mike Sanders said a re-examination of the plan was necessary because some of Oklahoma’s most challenging geographical areas would be not served under the original criteria. There had also been complaints from some internet providers.

Under the BEAD plan, Oklahoma’s expansion of broadband into rural areas has two priorities and the number one goal is to “provide broadband to all unserved addresses in Oklahoma.” The number two priority is to “provide broadband service to all undersereved addresses in Oklahoma.”

Under the “Internet for All” BEAD plan for Oklahoma, broadband was defined by the FCC as 25/3 which “is arguably adequate for most everyday online functions.” The plan said that “areas lacking even 25/3 broadband access are the top priority for broadband expansion.”

Under the current definition, set by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015, internet service counts as “broadband” if it delivers download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (or Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.

The Oklahoma Broadband Governing Board will meet at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, in the First Floor Conference Room, Suite 105, of the Harvey Parkway Building, 301 Northwest 63rd Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73116.

The agenda is posted on this page:

1. Call to Order, Welcome, and Determination of a Quorum
2. Compliance with Open Meeting Act
3. Office Policy regarding Comments and Questions on Grant Processes
4. * Possible Discussion, Revision, and Vote to Approve the Minutes of the Board Meeting of
November 14, 2023
5. Opening Remarks by Chair
6. Status Report from Oklahoma Broadband Office
7. Presentation of Report on Enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP”)
8. Planning Update on Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”), Digital Equity Act (“DEA”),
and America Rescue Plan Act – Capital Projects Fund (“ARPA – CPF”) Programs
9. * Possible Discussion and Vote to Adopt the Initial Proposal, Volume II, for the Broadband Equity,
Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) Program
10. * Possible Discussion and Vote to Adopt the Scoring Criteria for the American Rescue Plan Act –
Capital Projects Fund (“ARPA-CPF”)
11. Next Meeting, Closing Remarks, and Announcements

The public may observe the meeting in person or online. To join the meeting online, click here: join by phone, call +1 (405) 898-0717. Conference ID: 507 551 74#