03 Aug 2021
ECG’s Office of Economic & Community Development assembles a list of current grants and funding opportunities monthly. This month we highlight the Broadband Infrastructure Program from the U.S. Department of Commerce and The State of Georgia. We will continue to share information about additional funding opportunities.
U.S. Department of Commerce
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
Broadband Infrastructure Program
Application Period: through 8/17/21
The Broadband Infrastructure Program makes grants on a competitive basis to covered partnerships for covered broadband projects. A covered partnership may include more than one provider of fixed broadband service as part of its application. Additionally, a provider of fixed broadband service may participate in more than one covered partnership. A provider of broadband service that is part of a covered partnership is not required to be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to section 214(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 214(e)). NTIA encourages municipalities, non-profits, or cooperatives that own and/or operate broadband networks to participate in this program as part of a covered partnership.
NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program was established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. In the priority order defined by the Act, NTIA will accept applications for projects that are designed to:
- Provide broadband service to the greatest number of households in an eligible service area
- Provide broadband service to rural areas
- Be most cost-effective in providing broadband service, or
- Provide broadband service with a download speed of at least 100 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 20 Mbps.
NTIA will group applications based on the priority above that each application addresses and will sequence its review of application groups in the statutory order listed above.
NTIA is holding a series of webinars to further inform stakeholders about the program. The next Broadband Infrastructure webinars will be held on June 9 and 10.
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
Application Period: 8/1/21-8/31/21
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds may be used to invest in broadband infrastructure. Treasury’s Interim Final Rule provides that investments in broadband be made in areas that are currently unserved or underserved—lacking a wireline connection that reliably delivers minimum speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
Using these funds, applicants generally should propose broadband infrastructure projects with modern technologies in mind, specifically those projects that deliver services offering reliable 100 Mbps download and 100 8 Mbps upload speeds, unless impracticable due to topography, geography, or financial cost. In addition, applicants are encouraged to pursue fiber-optic investments. In view of the wide disparities in broadband access, assistance to households to support internet access or digital literacy is an eligible use to respond to the public health and negative economic impacts of the pandemic, as detailed above. Treasury’s Interim Final Rule encourages recipients to ensure that broadband projects use strong labor standards, including project labor agreements and community benefits agreements that offer wages at or above the prevailing rate and include local hire provisions.
Eligible applicants: Government Organizations including State Agencies, County governments, City or township governments, and Special district governments; and Georgia Professional Associations and Organizations including Industry Trade Associations, Business Organizations, and Trade/Professional/ Non-Profit Organizations.