To NTIA Middle Mile Program Grant Administrators,

Having a robust, reliable fiber infrastructure is integral to our collective ability to reach unserved and underserved communities and provide appropriate access to Internet connectivity. Bandwidth capacity in some areas of (STATE/CITY/TOWN) has been a limiting factor in the quality of services we can deliver, putting these regions at a disadvantage in overall economic development. Lack of quality connectivity hinders access to important initiatives like telehealth, distance learning, and remote work.

While we are enthusiastic about the federal government’s focus on bridging the digital divide through the funding of open access middle mile projects, it is important to ensure that these networks are operated in a sustainable manner by credible, experience network providers.

What we appreciate about this application is that it will be operated by a service provider with more than 20 years of experience operating fiber-based networks in this area. FirstLight has experience operating federally funded, open access networks so it understands and complies with the obligations set forth by the NTIA. FirstLight also has a proven experience designing, building and operating fiber networks. In fact, FirstLight has consistently built thousands of routes miles of fiber each year and successfully built over 4,000 route miles during the height of the pandemic.

FirstLight is able to do this because it maintains in-house fiber construction teams and has obtained commitments from its key supply chain vendors to ensure that it has access to the essential materials necessary to build the middle mile project contemplated in its grant application. This will ensure that FirstLight is able to overcome the many challenges associated with large-scale fiber builds and will complete this project in an expeditious manner to provide the critical network backbone that the community desperately needs.

We endorse FirstLight’s NTIA Middle Mile Grant application and welcome the opportunity to collaborate further. (ORGANIZATION NAME) believes that this proposal will allow companies like us to utilize these middle mile networks to help our state achieve its objective of providing equitable access to high quality connectivity services. We support FirstLight’s efforts to proceed with this initiative and request that the NTIA view this proposal favorably recommend FirstLight for funding and implementation.

Thank you for your consideration,