CSAC Bulletin Article

Calling All IT Directors: CDT Releases Broadband Update

August 3, 2023

Yesterday, the California Department of Technology (CDT) released a comprehensive update on the activities and programs that comprise the state’s Broadband for All initiative, including issues that CSAC has previously reported on, such as the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program and the Last Mile Federal Funding Account grant program. Broadband for All includes a wide variety of resources, partnerships, and programs to improve digital connectivity across the state.

If you haven’t subscribed yet, county IT Directors and other interested staff can stay connected to developments and announcements regarding Broadband for All programs and other technology initiatives by subscribing to the CDT Connect newsletter. The complete CDT Connect July 2023 Broadband Update is available here.

For your convenience, an abbreviated list of key updates from the CDT Connect and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is shared below:

Last-Mile Program Update

Federal Funding Account

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) continues to accept applications for the Federal Funding Account, a $2 billion grant program focused on building last-mile broadband internet infrastructure for communities without access to fast and reliable internet service. Applications will be accepted through the CPUC’s Broadband Grant Portal. The deadline to apply is Friday, September 29, 2023, at 4 p.m. The program will award grants for reliable and affordable networks to communities that need it most, particularly low-income and disadvantaged communities facing a growing digital divide. The program encourages Tribal and local government participation and reflects California’s priority of bringing affordable, reliable service to all Californians. More detailed information is available on the CPUC’s Application Resources webpage.

Local Agency Technical Assistance Program Recap

Available funding for the Local Agency Technical Assistance program has been exhausted. This program provided $50 million to local and Tribal governments for pre-construction planning for high-speed internet infrastructure. Tribes with additional or ongoing planning needs are encouraged to consider applying for the CPUC’s Tribal Technical Assistance Grant Program, which provides up to $150,000 per Tribe per fiscal year for broadband planning.

CPUC Reviewing CASF Account Applications

The CPUC is reviewing recent applications for the Broadband Adoption Account, which received 91 applications for nearly $15 million for broadband access and digital inclusion, the Broadband Public Housing Account, which received 14 applications to build broadband networks offering free broadband service for residents of low-income communities, and the Infrastructure Grant Account, which received 74 applications for approximately $527 million for middle-mile and last-mile infrastructure. 

Be sure to read the full CDT Connect newsletter for important updates about the Digital Equity planning process, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and upcoming meetings and events.

Grant Announcement: Internet For All Funding for Tribal Lands

This week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that the application period for the second installment of grant funding for the Internet For All initiative’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is open. This second round of funding includes approximately $980 million available for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian lands for deployment of Internet infrastructure, affordability programs, telehealth and distance learning initiatives.

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a $3 billion program established via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Consolidated Appropriations Act to support Tribal governments bringing high-speed Internet to Tribal lands, including telehealth, distance learning, affordability, and digital inclusion initiatives. The program is part of the Biden Administration’s Internet For All Initiative, which provides $48 billion for a variety of programs across the nation to connect more people to reliable high-speed internet. The first round of grant awards for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program included $162 million awarded to California for 34 tribal governments.

Application Window

The application window opened on Thursday, July 27, 2023, and will close at 8:59 PM (Pacific Time) on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Tribes that did not receive funding under the first round of grant awards will be given priority for funding under the second round of grant award determinations.

How to Apply

There are three avenues to submit complete application packages; 1) electronically via grants.gov, 2) via email at broadbandusa@ntia.gov, and 3) via postal mail to the following address:

National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Attn: Douglas Kinkoph, Associate Administrator
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4887
Washington, DC 20230

The program’s fact sheet includes information regarding application evaluation, scoring criteria, and post-award reporting requirements.

Additional Resources

For more information regarding the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, please visit internetforall.gov or the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Questions about the program can be directed to TBCPNOFO2@ntia.gov.

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