Expanding broadband, particularly in rural America, is finally in the spotlight after the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need for everyone to be connected. We are seeing billions of dollars being appropriated on the federal and state levels for broadband buildout and other programs to connect Americans to their work, schools, doctors, and other institutions.

This flood of money will provide many opportunities for broadband providers, but you need to keep track of these new developments and prepare for the various programs’ requirements. We recently held a two-part webinar event. During Part One we surveyed all the programs that are authorized and being planned—including state grant deployments, tribal land funds, and NTIA funding programs. Part Two focused on steps you can take today to prepare and what you need to do to be successful in receiving these funds for your deployment.

Part One:

  • Updates on several annual grant/loan programs, including RUS’s ReConnect and Community Connect;
  • How state and local governments plan to use the $220 billion provided in the COVID-19 State Fiscal Recovery Fund and $130 billion in the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund and what portion of those funds could be earmarked for broadband-related efforts;
  • New funding programs under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), including the Economic Development Appropriation and the Broadband Infrastructure Program; and
  • Other programs that may tangentially benefit broadband providers and their customers, such as the Homeowners Assistance Fund and the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

Part Two:

  • Identifying potential target areas even before an application deadline is announced;
  • Starting conversations with potential partners/allies in order to expand eligibility for grants based on the qualification of both parties;
  • Preparing business cases, buildout budgets and financial documents, including letters of support; and
  • Getting set up with required registrations (CAGE codes, Dunns numbers, state registrations, etc.) to speed up your application prep.

Recordings of the full two-part webinar are available for $400. Contact Leah Yoakum or Brenda Cordwell in the Maryland office at 301-459-7590 for more information about these webinars or to purchase the recording.