Window for funding requests is short so don’t delay

Broadband providers across the nation should be contacting their Non-Entitlement Units of Local Government (NEUs) – local governments serving populations of less than 50,000 – to confirm that they’ve requested their allocated Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund payments from their state governments. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds may be used for “necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.” Clients may be able to coordinate with their NEUs and leverage some of this funding for various broadband infrastructure projects or to strengthen future state and federal grant applications. But first, NEUs must send their requests to their states to receive the funding payments allocated to them.

NEUs can expect to receive Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund payments through their state governments. States will receive, if they have not already, specific amounts from the U.S. Treasury Department for NEUs and are responsible for distributing these funds to NEUs within their state. Treasury expects to make two payments to states for distribution to NEUs approximately 12 months apart. NEUs must act quickly since ARPA requires each state to distribute these funds to its NEUs within 30 days following receipt of this funding from Treasury, but allows states to request extensions of this timeframe.

Treasury has shared a file online showing whether funding has been set aside for your local NEU. Award amounts are based on the population of the NEU. Each state has its own process and requirements for requesting and receiving Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund payments.

JSI encourages clients to reach out to their local governments to determine if these funds have been requested and/or accepted and whether the NEUs are planning to use the funds for broadband. We are here to help in identifying NEUs, determining how much time an NEU has left to request funds, and how the NEU can request its funding. If you have any questions about the rules surrounding NEUs or the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, please contact Anna Galanis or Chresanthe Staurulakis in JSI’s Maryland office at 301-459-7590.