Michael Baker International Selected for Broadband Grants Systems and Services Contract

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 5/22/2024, Location: North America

Michael Baker International, a global leader in engineering, planning and consulting services, announced that the firm was recently selected by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to provide broadband grant administration systems and services. The firm will partner with the Arkansas State Broadband Office (ASBO) to supply services for managing and administering public funding sources – including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD), U.S. Treasury Community Project Funding (CPF) and Digital Equity Act – for the ARConnect broadband program. This funding will be utilized for the deployment of broadband infrastructure to provide internet access to unserved and underserved locations as well as for other digital equity services.

"Michael Baker has been serving state agencies and other clients across the State of Arkansas for more than 20 years. We have completed projects in nearly every county in Arkansas and possess a robust understanding of local communities and their landscapes across the state," said Karen White, National Broadband Practice Executive at Michael Baker International. "In recent years, access to adequate broadband services has become vital for education, health care and public safety, as well as business and government services. Michael Baker's services, combined with our partner Ready.net's Grantor Platform, provides ASBO with a total solution. We are proud to partner with the State of Arkansas in this capacity as we support the expansion of broadband access through grant management and administration efforts."

Michael Baker's services for the State of Arkansas include:

- Supporting the BEAD State Challenge Process providing services to review submissions and rebuttals providing recommendations to ASBO

- Monitoring and compliance of CPF subgrants through project closeout

- Assisting ASBO in the pre-qualification of internet service providers (ISPs) for BEAD subawards

- Identifying stakeholders and coordinating support activities, including technical assistance, to streamline requests for public funding

- Developing subgrant agreements and supporting execution of those agreements

- Providing economic modeling to highlight BEAD program benefits for direct/indirect job creation and impacts to state or local tax

- Serving as grant administrator to ensure program compliance and timely drawdown of awarded funds

- Assisting with compliance reporting to Federal and State Agencies

Michael Baker is currently conducting broadband consulting and related services for numerous state broadband offices across the nation, supporting clients in their broadband expansion; utilization; grant program, including BEAD and CPF; BEAD Challenges; and digital equity efforts, including supporting state and local planning, local and regional implementation models, broadband deployment and digital equity skills/training.


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