10 Things to Know Before Applying for BEAD Funding

10 Things to Know Before Applying for BEAD Funding 

The $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program is unprecedented funding to close the digital divide for both rural and urban low-income communities. BEAD funding opens the opportunity to accelerate your network growth, figuring out all of the nuanced grant requirements can be a challenge. Here are the top 10 things to consider before applying.


Know The BEAD Allocation Landscape

NTIA allocated BEAD funding on June 30, 2023. Here is a breakdown of funding allocations by region.

Understand BEAD Funding Allocation By State

Know what BEAD funding opportunities are available by state to develop your game plan for applying for grants.




Know The BEAD Funding Timeline

Follow the BEAD funding timeline below to stay on top of BEAD application milestones.

Use Mapping Tools to Determine
your next network location

The NTIA and states are prioritizing BEAD funding for broadband projects designed to bring high-speed internet to unserved or underserved areas. Underserved qualifies as speeds lower than 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream. Ahead of applying for BEAD grant funding, use these two mapping tools to figure out where it makes the most sense ROI-wise to invest in your network:

• FCC National Broadband Map

• USDA ReConnect Service Map

Further GIS planning will give you a clear picture of the feasibility and ROI of a new network build before you get started. Get further guidance on GIS planning with geospatial consulting services available from Millennium Geospatial.



Ensure Your SAM & Unique Identity ID (UEI) Numbers are current

Companies that seek financial assistance or grant funding from the U.S. Government need to have a current SAM.gov registration including a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). UEI numbers replaced the DUNS Number system on April 4, 2022. 

Verify You’re Current On Your
FCC BDC Compliance

The FCC’s Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program collects data from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on broadband availability, subscription, and bulk crowdsourced/challenge data to support stakeholders in identifying unserved and underserved communities in need of high-speed broadband. Verify your FCC BDC compliance is current. 



Plan for BEAD funding compliance hurdles

Be Aware of the Impact of the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA)

Buying American-made broadband materials under BABA requirements means anticipating potential supply constraints during project planning. Millennium can simplify your materials planning with American-made resources, inventory management, customized data-driven solutions, and faster lead times from local warehouses across the U.S. Read how Millennium kept Gateway Fiber up and running during pandemic supply chain issues.

Matching Funds & Letter of Credit Requirement

BEAD Program guidelines require grant seekers to provide NTIA with a bank letter of credit proving they have at least a 25% match of the grant amount in cash or 25% of project costs, except where deemed a high cost area. “High-cost” areas have at least 80% unserved locations and are relatively more expensive to serve compared to similarly unserved areas (Internetforall.gov, 2023). This upfront cash plus the fees for a letter of credit may be too much for Tier II and Tier III broadband service providers, making bridge loans a vital lifeline for many broadband networks.

Leverage a bridge loan to get your build started

Even network owners who manage to scrape up matching funds for their project, waiting until they finish their fiber project before BEAD funding arrives is another hurdle. Bridge loans from Millennium Infrastructure Fund can make it easier for broadband service providers to cover the cost of supplies, equipment, and labor before BEAD funding comes through.



Consider alternate funding sources

When it comes to connecting subscribers ahead of your competitors, consider alternative funding sources to BEAD. Some of these funding sources could help you meet BEAD’s matching funds requirement.

Capital Funds


Goal: Deliver
speeds ≥ 100/100Mbps

Enhanced Alternative
Connect America Cost
Model (E-CAM)


Goal: Deploy
100/20Mbps in rural underserved areas

Reconnect Loan
& Grant Program


Goal: 100/100Mbps
in rural underserved areas

   Tribal Broadband     Connectivity Program


Focus: Unserved and underserved area (≥25/3Mbps)

Get help with grand compliance
& funding with Millennium

Building fiber networks is your strength, so why not get a lift from broadband funding experts? With our partnerships, Millennium can help you with grand funding and compliance. We can assist with the grant application process, tracking projects, completing compliance milestones to get funds and completing required reporting.


Future-Focused Network Owners from
Coast to Coast Look to Millennium For:

  • Feasibility Studies & Network Design Plans
  • Financing & Grants
  • Project Resource Management
  • Material Supply & Logistical Planning
  • Equipment Leasing & Rentals