Bridging the Digital Divide

Rural Broadband Expansion

Creating Economic Opportunity for Unserved and Underserved Communities

Funds Available for Broadband Expansion.

Broadband access in rural areas is linked to increased job and population growth, higher rates of new business formation, education, telehealth, telework, and lower unemployment rates. Federal and State governments have embarked on groundbreaking programs furnishing loans and grants in excess of $65 billion to fund the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. Some examples of such programs are:

  • Affordable Connectivity Program
  • Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program

  • Broadband Infrastructure Program
  • Capital Projects Fund
  • Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program
  • Digital Equity Act Programs
  • Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program

  • ReConnect Loan and Grant Program
  • State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program
  • Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program

The End-To-End Process is Complex.

Service providers manage day-to-day activities well
and have well-established workflows. However, when
a large grant for network expansion is awarded,
organizations need to adapt and develop new
processes to enable them to define and manage new
or expanded workflows and achieve new milestones. Quickly developing or revising processes can be
critical to meet grant deadlines such as filing
compliance reports on time to avoid penalties.

We Are Here to Assist You.

The Leading Path is well-positioned to help service
providers fast track the acquisition of grant funds such
as BEAD and RDOF, and/or manage large-scale
projects funded by these grants. The Leading Path is
currently demonstrating its considerable logistical
capabilities by successfully managing a $5 billion
grant-enabled network expansion for a U.S. tier 1
broadband Multiple System Operator. The Leading
Path offers a one-stop shop to assist other service
providers who would like to start applying for grants or
need assistance in implementing an award.

What Can We Do for You

Most grant application assistance tools available today are generic and provide only information or guidance on limited aspects of infrastructure grant requirements and application processes. Service providers are left to their own devices to seek advice or identify gaps in expertise or resources required to win grant awards or to design and implement systems targeted by the grants. For example, some resources assist a service provider in the grant writing process, but beyond that, they only offer a list of additional resources for the service provider to pursue. These generic funding locator and application tools lack guidance tailored to the specific needs of the service provider’s capabilities or limitations. The Leading Path subject matter experts provide skills to bridge the gaps and help manage the end-to-end process for projects putting grant resources to work to expand and better serve your customer base.

LP can be your partner during the grant writing process and walk you through the steps:

Access to partners to evaluate the existing network infrastructure and develop a preliminary design for the target architecture that can be certified and included in the grant proposal.
Work with your business development team to assess and document the business case and market opportunity for network expansion.
Ensure that the bids are reasonable and realistic.

LP has access to vendors that will enable a service provider to complete this phase of the project promptly.

Once a grant has been awarded, the service provider will need immediate access to resources to design the following aspects of the network cost-effectively:

Long haul fiber
Internet drain
Last mile access
In addition to Internet access:
Telephony – Required by many grant programs.
There may be an opportunity to offer additional services such as video.

LP has the in-house expertise and access to partners to plan for implementation and free your resources to manage daily operations and pursue other strategic opportunities. Some of the components of the planning phase are as follows:

Manage the vendor selection process and perform hardware/software qualification and testing.
Perform site, identification, qualification, and backbone connectivity (walkouts)
Assist and track the permitting process
Automate processes when needed to reduce the need for meetings and enable data gathering to measure progress.
Develop project plans to achieve targets to comply with grant requirements.
Stay on schedule for the construction of the following:
Long haul fiber construction
FTTP Construction (laying the fiber)
FTTP shelf deployment (Install the fiber access terminal)
Customer installation

Network expansion and compliance reporting put additional demands on OSS/BSS systems requiring advanced planning. LP experts deeply understand the systems and processes enabling telecommunications service providers to manage their networks, deliver services efficiently, and provide compliance data. Whether you need a turnkey OSS/BSS solution to support the business in “greenfield deployments” or scale an existing OSS/BSS System to support a planned network expansion, LP can assist a service provider with the following tasks:

  • Customer Facing Services – Sales, onboarding, billing, payment, product information, self-service portals, marketing, promotions, and mobile apps.
  • Internal Operations – NOC/SOC, CRM, ERP, workforce management, process development, capacity planning, data collection for compliance reports, analytics, and audits.
  • Technology Stack – Software/Infrastructure upgrade, compute/network scaling, optimization, capacity planning, cloud integration, NFV, security, resiliency, and testing.

Each funding source has its requirements for periodic compliance reports on the objective of the grant. LP can assist with the following tasks:

Gather the required data for the KPIs specified in the grant.
Identify bottlenecks and forecast the likelihood of achieving a milestone.
Develop and implement transparent and effective processes, including a system of accounting, procurement policies, internal controls, and records retention
Examine existing processes and internal controls to identify areas vulnerable to fraud
Conduct training sessions to educate staff on risks
Implement an internal compliance and ethics program that encourages the recognition and reporting of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement
Check that all financial and performance reports are supported with the required documentation
Conduct monthly bank reconciliations to identify errors or irregularities

Let us know how we can help!

Fill out the form and let us know how we can help assist you.

Please contact us below:

7925 Jones Branch Drive Suite 3250 McLean, VA 22102

Have you been awarded a grant?
What Phase are you interested in? *