Credit: Jones Day

The State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“SLFRF”) is a $350 billion emergency fund to be used by eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to support the populations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in the SLFRF’s Interim Final Rules (“IFR”) are provisions that allow communities to use this new funding to deploy broadband to unserved and underserved areas. 

On July 16th, 2021, Next Century Cities submitted comments to the Treasury Department highlighting the following points: 

  • The Treasury’s rules must give communities confidence and flexibility to invest in broadband projects in their communities.
  • The 25/3 Mbps minimum speed standard is insufficient to meet increasing household needs. 
  • The Treasury must clarify the definitions of “unserved,” “underserved,” and “reliably served.”
  • Collaboration with local officials will improve the effectiveness and success of the SLFRF program. 

The SLFRF provides communities a unique opportunity to obtain federal funding for local broadband projects. These funds are intended to help states and localities respond to the myriad of connectivity issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to ensure that the communities in desperate need of broadband solutions benefit from the program, the IFR must employ flexible guidelines that allows local leaders to identify, address, and react to unique challenges. 

Read NCC’s July 16th letter here


Additional Resource:

Treasury Department Releases Rules That May Lead to More Confusion Than Connectivity (May 2021)