Unpacking Approved BEAD Volume 2s: Illinois


Michael Santorelli


June 17, 2024

NTIA recently approved Illinois’s BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 2 (V2). The ACLP has compared the final version with the version that the state submitted to NTIA for review in December. A redlined version is available here. The following identifies changes made to the state’s V2 ahead of NTIA’s approval:

Subgrantee Selection Process

Wave 1 Focus on Hard-to-Serve Areas

The state included additional discussion of its approach to using Wave 1 as the primary means of ensuring that broadband reaches Hard-to-Serve Areas first. Specifically:

“[W]ave 1 seeks to ensure that the hardest-to-serve project area units are incorporated into applications (which can be combined with more desirable project area units) and receive provisional awards first. In wave 2, the EHCPLT will be leveraged to seek to extend the reach of broadband funds as far as possible to project area units across the state that did not receive applications in wave 1. After choosing the EHCPLT in wave 2, any provisionally awarded applicants from wave 1 found to be above the threshold will be given the opportunity to amend their applications to come into compliance with the threshold, including the opportunity to adjust the technology of their proposals. Wave 3 will be employed as needed, to seek either more cost competitive applications or additional applications for all remaining locations. Wave 3 may involve targeted refinements to PAUs, reference costs, and provider negotiations to drive toward covering all unserved, underserved locations and CAIs.”

Scoring – Primary Criteria

The state did not make major adjustments to these elements of its scoring rubric.

Scoring – Secondary Criteria

The state made minor adjustments to several of these elements:

  • Speed of Network: max points will be awarded to applicants promising to deliver 1/1 Gbps service. A previous proposal to award an additional point for serving all CAI in the PAU has been removed.
  • Open Access: the state clarified that it will award 1pt each for (1) describing the wholesale service and rates; (2) offering evidence of ISP partners; and (3) evidence of publicly available open access policy (e.g., a website). Partial points can be awarded if an applicant only addresses 1 or 2 of these elements.
  • Local Coordination: the state clarified that “community feedback” encompasses letters of support for the proposed project.

Low-Cost Option

The state did not modify the parameters of the Low-Cost Option and added that, post-ACP, the Option requirement will remain unchanged.