Federal Broadband Funding

Community Connect Grant

Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development

Eligible Applicant: Most State and Local governments, Federally-recognized Tribes, Non-profits, and For-profit corporations.

Description: This program helps fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for private sector providers to deliver service of at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. A funding match of 15% from non-federal sources are required, and can be used for operating costs.

ReConnect Loan and Grant Program

Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Eligible Applicant: 

  • States, local governments, or any agency, subdivision, instrumentality, or political subdivision thereof
  • A territory or possession of the United States
  • Federally-recognized Tribes
  • Non-profit entities
  • For-profit corporations
  • Limited liability companies
  • Cooperative or mutual organizations

Description: This program furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. Below are the maximum award amounts, per application.

  • 100 Percent Grant program is available for up to $25,000,000.
  • 50 Percent Loan / 50 Percent Grant is available for up to $50,000,000 in total - $25,000,000 for the grant and $25,000,000 for the loan.
  • 100 Percent Loan is for up to $200,000,000.

Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Program (E-Rate)

Source: Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)

Eligible Applicant: K-12 Public Schools and Libraries.

Description: The schools and libraries universal service support program (i.e. E-Rate Program) helps schools and libraries obtain affordable broadband. Eligible schools, school districts, and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium.

Funding may be requested under two service categories:

  • Services to a school or library (telecommunications, telecommunications services and Internet access)
  • Services that deliver Internet access within schools and libraries (internal connections, basic maintenance of internal connections, and managed internal broadband services)

Discounts for support depend on the poverty level and location of the school or library. E-Rate discounts range from 20% to 90% of costs for eligible services.

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)

Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Eligible Applicant:  Broadband providers

Description: In 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), a new $20.4 billion grant program aimed at bringing broadband to unserved census blocks. RDOF is a successor to the 2018 Connect America Fund II (CAFII), a reverse auction grant program that “auctioned” unserved FCC census blocks to providers, who would bid down the grants until the lowest winning bid was awarded.

 

Alternative Connect America Cost Model (ACAM)

Source: Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)

Background: The Alternative Connect America Cost Model (ACAM) provides support to rate-of-return carriers that voluntarily elect to transition to a new cost model for calculating High Cost funding. ACAM models forward-looking economic costs of deploying and operating a fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network. ACAM is funded at $578 million annually from 2017 to 2026.

Deployment Requirements: Carriers must provide fixed broadband and voice services to awarded  locations based on the following deployment schedule:

  • 40% of deployments by the end of year 4
  • 50% of deployments by the end of year 5
  • 60% of deployments by the end of year 6
  • 70% of deployments by the end of year 7
  • 80% of deployments by the end of year 8
  • 90% of deployments by the end of year 9
  • 100% of deployments by the end of year 10