WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it has received more than 230 applications for the Broadband Infrastructure Program, for a total of more than $2.5 billion in funding requests across 49 states and U.S. territories.
NTIA has begun reviewing the applications as part of the $288 million grant program, which was funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the Act). Grants will be awarded to covered partnerships between a state, or political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service. The program’s 90-day application window closed on Tuesday, August 17.
Due to the high volume of applications, the award process will be highly competitive. As outlined in the Act, priority will be given to applications with proposed projects that:
- Provide broadband service to the greatest number of households in an eligible service area;
- Provide broadband service to rural areas;
- Are most cost-effective in providing broadband service; or
- Provide broadband service with a download speed of at least 100 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 20 Mbps.
“The intense demand for this program across the country demonstrates the widespread need for better broadband connectivity in unserved communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “These investments are critical, but there is more to be done. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, recently passed by the Senate, will expand upon the groundwork being laid by this program to advance digital equity and get us one step closer to every American having access to high-speed, affordable, and reliable Internet.”
“The state and local governments leading these proposed projects are strong partners with the federal government in closing the digital divide,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Evelyn Remaley. “We look forward to working closely with them in these efforts to expand Internet access throughout the country.”
NTIA will thoroughly and objectively review applications using a three-stage process: Initial Administrative and Eligibility Review of Complete Application Packets, Merit Review, and Programmatic Review. Reviewers will evaluate applications according to the criteria provided in Section V of the Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Additional broadband funding may be available through the Department of Treasury’s American Rescue Plan Funds. The BroadbandUSA Federal Funding Guide also compiles federal funding opportunities for expanding and improving broadband access. More information about the Broadband Infrastructure Program can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity and on the BroadbandUSA website.