CSAC Bulletin Article

Fall Broadband Funding Opportunities and Updates

Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Available through Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program

Application window is open until November 2, 2022.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Loan and Grant Program is furnishing $1.5 billion in 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. In facilitating the expansion of broadband services and infrastructure, the program will fuel long-term rural economic development and opportunities.

Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), ReConnect is making $350 million in grants, without a matching funds requirement, available to projects serving persistent poverty counties, projects serving colonias, socially vulnerable communities, and tribes. The IIJA is also making $200 million in grants, without a matching funds requirement, available for projects proposing service areas that are 90% unserved. Additionally, this funding round is providing competitive loan/grant combinations and first come, first serve loan only financing for eligible projects. The Scoring Criteria offers applicants various ways to distinguish and make their application more competitive.

For more information and resources about ReConnect, please refer to the following links:

Fall Broadband for All Submit

The California Department of Technology, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and other state partners are hosting the Fall Broadband for All Summit & State Digital Equity Planning (SDEP) and Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Planning Kickoff on Monday, October 24, 2022, between 9:00am-1:00pm.

The Summit will include panel discussions and information sessions on the state’s Equity and Broadband programs, implementations of the state’s Broadband for All initiatives, and a briefing on the state’s SDEP and BEAD planning process and how organizations can partner with the state and contribute to these efforts. The session will conclude with a moderated discussion on digital equity outcomes and questions and answers. Individuals interested in attending can register here.

Local Technical Assistance Grant Program

Recently, the Local Technical Assistance grant program reported that the first 12 broadband grants were awarded, providing almost $5 million to local governments across California to expand high speed broadband services to unserved and underserved Californians. Established by CPUC, the Local Agency Technical Assistance grant program supports local agencies and tribes in their efforts to expand broadband service to unserved and underserved Californians.

In addition, the Local Agency Technical Assistance grant program noted that a County Dashboard was created to learn more about applications received by the CPUC. The Local Agency Technical Assistance grant program funds local agencies and tribes with developing broadband projects in areas with unserved and underserved Californians. The Commission made $50 million in funds available for this purpose. Grants are for pre-construction planning and studies and technical assistance. The County Dashboard also keeps a running total of requested funds versus available funds.

Sign-up for news, updates, and information on statewide broadband funding opportunities from CPUC here.

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