One of the largest barriers that communities face in accelerating broadband deployment or launching adoption programs is the lack of funding. Local officials are oftentimes unaware of all of the funding opportunities that are available to them or lack the capacity to navigate the process. What’s more, communities in need may not find out about new federal or state funding in time to apply.
At Next Century Cities’ 2021 Conference, Ryan Johnston, policy counsel for federal programs, sat down with Gilbert Resendez, Broadband Program Specialist at the National Telecommunications Information Administration’s (“NTIA”) BroadbandUSA Program, to discuss potential funding opportunities for communities nationwide. Resendez highlighted five specific funding opportunities that are currently, or will soon be, available to the public.
- Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants (accepting applications through Aug. 17, 2021);
- Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (application window is anticipated to open mid-August);
- Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants Program (accepting applications through Sept. 1, 2021);
- State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund; and
- Capital Projects Fund
Additionally, Resendez discussed eligibility and submission requirements in order to be considered for a grant. Local officials may find NTIA’s Indicators of Broadband Need Map useful. It is a publicly available digital map that displays key indicators of broadband needs across the country.
NTIA’s Digital Inclusion Resources contains information regarding broadband adoption research, toolkits, and guides from NTIA and other Federal entities. Resendez also shared NTIA’s information on the State Broadband Leaders Network, which NTIA uses to connect communities to essential state level contacts working to expand broadband.
During the Q&A session, Resendez urged communities to think about what non-technical resources communities might have, including human capital or community partners. Strong partnerships improve the chances of success for funding applications. He concluded by noting that when a community is in the process of looking or applying for new funding opportunities, planning is essential. Ensuring that a community has a clear understanding of its assets, partnerships, and resources is critical to building a strong and compelling application.
You can view Gilbert’s slide deck here.
You can view the full discussion here.
- Federal Funding Guide
- NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program Notice
- Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program Notice
- Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program Notice
- U.S. Department of the Treasury FAQ on the broadband provisions of the Interim Final Rule for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds