The Federal Government makes available various grants and programs to support the buildout of broadband infrastructure. On December 21, 2020 President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. An outline of the Broadband carve outs are summarized in this press release from Sen. Schatzʻs office.
Please let me know if you are applying for a grant with the Federal Government so we can help support your efforts.
- FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit: The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for those on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.
- NTIA Comprehensive Guide to Federal Broadband Funding: NTIA has updated its BroadbandUSA website database of 57 federal broadband programs, spanning 14 federal agencies with billions of dollars for broadband grants, loans, and other resources. The site, created with the help of participating federal agencies, fulfills a goal set out in the Trump Administration’s American Broadband Initiative to make it easier for providers and stakeholders to find federal funding and permitting information.
- ReConnect Loan and Grant Program: The CARES Act provides $100 million to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ReConnect program to help ensure rural Americans have access to broadband. USDA’s ReConnect program offers federal financing and funding options in the form of loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America that do not currently have sufficient access to broadband.
- Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program: The CARES Act provides $25 million to support USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine program to help improve distance learning and telemedicine in rural communities. Eligible entities (libraries, K-12 schools, higher education institutions, hospitals, state and local governments, tribal entities, commercial/ISPs, non-profits) can apply for grants to be used for broadband infrastructure (construction), broadband adoption, digital skills training, and distance learning and telemedicine equipment. The new application deadline is July 13, 2020.
- The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is the FCC’s next step in bridging the digital divide. On August 1, 2019, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to establish the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to bring high speed fixed broadband service to rural homes and small businesses that lack it. Here is the map for the eligible areas that qualify for RDOF.
- COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application Process: The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will provide $200 million in funding, appropriated by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to help health care providers provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the novel Coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
- E-Rate – Schools & Libraries USF Program: The schools and libraries universal service support program, commonly known as the E-rate program, helps schools and libraries to obtain affordable broadband.
- Education Stabilization Fund: On Friday, March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act, which is a $2 trillion package of assistance measures, including $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund. A team of leaders and civil servants at the Department are currently working to ensure that the legislation is followed and that states, schools, and institutes of higher education receive support in response to coronavirus. Four grant programs were created through the CARES Act: Education Stabilization Fund Discretionary Grants; Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund; Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund; and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.