Appropriations Act Delivers Largest Federal Broadband Grant Opportunity in a Decade

Heather Mills, V.P. for Grant & Funding Strategies

Cat Blake, Civic Technology Analyst

The Consolidated Appropriations Act that became law in late December 2020 created the largest federal broadband grant opportunity in a decade. Because the funding is intended to alleviate the economic and other challenges created by the pandemic, the funds will be distributed quickly once the rules are released. In some cases, grant applications will be accepted immediately and awards will be made within weeks rather than months.

Even without detailed rules from the agencies that will administer the programs, now is the time to develop strategies to benefit from the relevant funding streams. The links below lead to our preliminary guidance on the new programs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to learn more about how we can help.

  • Emergency Broadband Benefit Program: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will administer $3.2 billion in broadband service subsidies for eligible households. The FCC has 60 days from the day the Act was signed to stand up the program. We recommend local and state governments begin planning now to help residents maximize this benefit.
  • Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program: The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will administer this $285 million grant program, which will fund broadband services and equipment for minority-serving institutions and their surrounding communities. NTIA has 45 days from the day the Act was signed to develop rules for the program.
  • Promote Broadband Expansion Grant Program: NTIA will administer this $300 million grant program for broadband infrastructure, with a focus on public-private partnerships and rural project proposals.
  • Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program: NTIA will administer this $1 billion program for tribal broadband infrastructure and expanded access to remote learning, telework, and telehealth resources.
  • Secure and Trusted Communications Network Reimbursement Program: The Act allocates $1.9 billion for the removal and replacement (generally known as “rip and replace”) of communications equipment obtained from a company that poses a national security threat to the country.

CTC’s Grant and Funding Strategies Team will continue to analyze these opportunities in the weeks to come. Please contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss how CTC can assist you.

Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by CTC Technology & Energy