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Programs Services 4

Current Broadband Funding

$77.3 billion+

Broadband-Related Funding

The nation is seeing an unprecedented level of state and federal investment and grant opportunities for broadband infrastructure and related technologies.

Connected Nation’s staff is focused on closing the Digital Divide in America and, as part of that mission, the national nonprofit is providing guidance on funding opportunities and effective broadband strategies for local, state, and federal leaders.

Connected Nation can help your organization develop a plan of action for tapping into these critical funds by leveraging our programs and two decades of experience in the broadband space. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by clicking the link below. 

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Current Funding

Below is a list of current and expected broadband-related funding programs. The total listed above does not include the $350 billion that Congress appropriated as part of the American Rescue Plan Act to create the Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund — a portion of which is being used by some state and local governments to expand broadband access. 

This list is changing weekly — and sometimes daily — so please check back regularly.

The American Jobs Plans

$65 billion for broadband

President Biden signed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law on Monday, November 15. The bill provides $65 billion for broadband expansion.

The biggest source of broadband funding is the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD). The program, which has a budget of $42.5 billion, will be administered by individual states under the direction of the Commerce Department. This includes the Affordable Connectivity Program (see this page). 

The broadband component. What you should know:

  • emphasis on "future-proof" broadband, which points to heavy investment in fiber
  • includes "underserved" areas, which means areas that have some level of internet service, but not faster speeds
  • emphasis on rural electric coops, municipal governments, and nonprofits providing service
  • emphasis on price transparency and public disclosure of rates
  • suggests ongoing subsidies to promote broadband adoption 

Who Qualifies:

  • the majority of the funding will go to states
  • $14.2 billion of the funding will be used to make the Emergency Broadband Benefit program permanent under the new designation of the Affordable Connectivity Program

$14 billion available (included in the above-listed Infrastructure Bill and American Jobs Act) 

UPDATE: Congress recently created the Affordable Connectivity Program, a new long-term, $14 billion program which will replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. This funding was included in the infrastructure bill and American Jobs Act noted on this page.

Who Qualifies

This program is focused on providing discounts directly to individuals and families who meet the following criteria

  • Those who already meet the requirements of an internet service provider’s existing low-income program;
  • Those who qualify for Lifeline benefits through participation in SNAP and other government assistance programs;
  • Participants in Tribal assistance programs;
  • Those who received a Pell Grant;
  • Those who received benefits under free and reduced school lunch program;
  • Households with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines

The broadband component. What you should know:

The program provides support for broadband services and certain devices to help low-income households stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides the following:

  • up to a $ 30-a-month discount on service and associated equipment,
  • up to $75 a month for households on Tribal lands,
  • and a one-time discount on a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer of up to $100 for qualifying low-income households.

Listen to the podcast on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program by clicking here. It features FCC Press Secretary Paloma Perez

$700 million annually; $1.3 billion in 2021

The ReConnect program is overseen by USDA Rural Development, which defines e-Connectivity as providing increased productivity, improved operations, enhanced health care (telehealth) options, education (remote learning) opportunities, and competitive entrepreneurship.

Update: On November 24, 2021, the USDA announced it had begun accepting applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants. See below to apply. 

Who Qualifies

  • The Rural e-Connectivity Program Regulation published on Feb. 26, 2021, provides an outline but the following qualify: 
  • Corporations
  • Limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships
  • Cooperative or mutual organizations
  • States or local governments, including any agency, subdivision, instrumentality, or political subdivision thereof
  • A territory or possession of the United States
  • An Indian tribe  

The broadband component. What you should know:

ReConnect loans and grants provide funds for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service to rural areas without sufficient broadband access. 

  • To be eligible, an area must be rural and must lack sufficient access to broadband service
  • A “rural area is defined as:
  • (1) A city, town, or incorporated area that has a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants; or 
  • (2) an urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants.
  • Applicants must propose to build a network capable of providing service to all premises in the proposed funded service area at the speed defined in the latest Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) 
  • You can submit additional questions to USDA Rural Development here: 

Eligible applicants will be required to provide a plan describing how they intend to use allocated funds.

On November 24, 2021, the USDA announced it had begun accepting applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants. 

Apply Now

Check with the local contact 

Connected Nation recently talked with the Chief of Staff for the Undersecretary in USDA Rural Development about new funding opportunities, including what staff looks for in winning applications. 

Coronavirus State and Local Fisical Recovery Funds* (SLFRF)

A portion of $350 billion is available. This is subject to state, county, and local leadership discretion

Who Qualifies

State, territories, and tribal governments

Click here for funding allocations by state 

Click here for funding allocations by county 

Click here for funding allocations by metro area 

$1 billion available

Who Qualifies

Coalition members eligible to apply for investment assistance for their region include a(n):

  • District organization of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
  • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a state, including a special purpose unit of a state or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private nonprofit organizations or associations acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a state

Individuals or for-profit entities are not eligible.

The broadband component. What you should know:

The $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge will provide a transformational investment to 20-30 regions across the country that want to revitalize their economies.

These regions will have the opportunity to grow new regional industry clusters or scale existing ones through planning, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, access to capital, and more.

  • Phase 1: 50-60 regional coalitions of partnering entities will be awarded ~$500,000 in technical assistance funds to develop and support three to eight projects to grow a regional growth cluster.
  • Phase 2: EDA will award 20-30 regional coalitions $25 million to $75 million, and up to $100 million, to implement those projects.

Phase 1 deadline is Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Phase 2 deadline is Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Application Deadlines Now Closed

$268 million available

Who Qualifies

This program is focused on providing discounts directly to individuals and families who meet the following criteria:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)
  • Minority-Servicing Institutions (MSIs)

The broadband component. What you should know:

This fund was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and will be overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). This $285 million grant program is not infrastructure related but rather it can be used for:

  • the purchase of broadband internet access
  • eligible/related equipment and devices
  • support the adoption of broadband
  • digital literacy programs
  • to hire and train information technology personnel

Deadline: December 1, 2021

Apply Now

$500 million available

Who Qualifies

This provides funding to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, rural health care services, and food assistance through food banks.

The direct email is

The broadband component. What you should know:

Rural health care is challenged by immediate financial needs stemming from COVID-19-related expenses. Long-term access to – and availability of – rural health care services have been further hampered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two tracks for these funds.

  • Track One: Recovery Grants provide immediate relief to address the economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency
  • Track Two: Impact Grants advance ideas and solutions to solve regional rural health care problems to support the long-term sustainability of rural health

Deadline: Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 4 p.m. local time.

Apply Now for Track One
Apply now track One: Recovery Grants | Rural Development Track Two

NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants

$300 million available

Who Qualifies

  • Meant in support of state and provider partnerships
  • Or one or more political subdivisions of a state and providers of fixed broadband service

The broadband component. What you should know:

This fund was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and will be overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

It is meant for state-and-provider partnerships that support broadband infrastructure to areas lacking broadband. There will be an emphasis placed on projects that reach rural areas.

Click  here to watch the NTIA Infrastructure Grant Program Informational Webinar presented by the Connecting Michigan Taskforce (CMIT) 

Learn more and apply for this program here 

Institute of Museum and Library Services Pandemic Respond Funding 

$15 million available

Who Qualifies

  • Libraries and museums
  • Federally recognized Tribes
  • Nonprofit organizations serving Native Hawaiians

The broadband component. What you should know:

This fund was part of the 2021 American Rescue Act. The federal investment will provide direct support to address community needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and assist with recovery. 

  • Grant amounts will range from $10,000 to $50,000 and will cover one year of funding.
  • Proposals to this grant program may continue, enhance, or expand existing programs and services, or they may launch new ones to address emergent needs and unexpected hardships.

The deadline for submitting applications is June 28, 2021, with award announcements anticipated in October 2021. A free informational webinar will be made available on-demand on the IMLS website.

Learn more and apply for this program here. 

$1 billion available

Who qualifies

  • Tribal governments
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)
  • Native Hawaiian Community
  • Native Corporations

The broadband component. What you should know:

This fund was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and will be overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The $1 billion in funding will be allocated to broadband deployment on tribal lands.

  • It can be used for:
    • Broadband deployment and infrastructure (including submarine cable landing stations)
    • Telehealth
    • Distance learning
    • Broadband affordability programs
    • Digital literacy programs
    • Digital inclusion
    • This fund closes to applications  Wednesday, September 1

Learn More and Apply Here

$571 million available annually

The FY2021 filing window closed on June 1

Who Qualifies

  • Public or not-for-profit hospitals, rural health clinics, community health centers, health centers serving migrants, community mental health centers, local health departments or agencies, post-secondary educational institutions/teaching hospitals/medical schools, or consortia of the above
  • Non-rural HCPs may participate if they belong to a consortium that has a majority of rural HCPs
  • The largest HCPs (400 + patient beds) are eligible, but support is capped if non-rural

The broadband component. What you should know:

The Rural Health Care Program is an annual funding program run through the Federal Communications Commission that is currently made up of two programs: the Health Care Connect Fund Program (broadband) and the Telecommunications Program (voice and data). It was developed to help expand access by health care providers to “robust broadband networks.”

The Health Care Connect Fund Program Provides:

  • Support for high-capacity broadband connectivity to eligible health care providers
  • Encourages the formation of state and regional broadband health care provider networks
  • In addition, eligible rural health care providers, and those eligible non-rural health care providers that are members of a consortium that has more than 50 percent rural health care provider sites, receive a 65 percent flat discount on an array of communications services.
  • These services include internet access, dark fiber, business data, traditional digital service line (DSL), and private carriage services.

The Telecommunications Program Provides:

Eligible rural health care providers with rates on telecommunications services in rural areas that are reasonably comparable to rates charged for similar services in corresponding urban areas

Get a fact sheet on the program by clicking here

A Step-By-Step Guide and Portal for Applying for these funds

$44.5 million available

Note: although this is an annual program, applications for the fiscal year 2023 closed on December 7, 2022.

Who Qualifies

For both programs, eligible applicants include most entities that provide education or health care through telecommunications, including:

  • Most state and local governmental entities
  • Federally-recognized tribes
  • Nonprofits
  • For-profit businesses
  • Consortia of eligible entities

The broadband component. What you should know:

This program overseen by USDA Rural Development helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. For example, this program can link teachers and medical service providers in one area to students and patients in another.

  • A 15% match is required for grant-only awards
  • The funds may be used for the acquisition of eligible capital assets, such as:
  • Broadband facilities
    • Audio, video, and interactive video equipment
    • Terminal and data terminal equipment
    • Computer hardware, network components, and software
    • Inside wiring and similar infrastructure that further DLT services
  • The funds may also be used for:
    • The acquisition of instructional programming that is a capital asset
    • Technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment
  • Find more details on the grant program fact sheet
  • This is the Spanish version of the program fact sheet

Apply for These Funds Here

Connected Nation recently talked with the Chief of Staff for the Undersecretary in USDA Rural Development about new funding opportunities, including what staff looks for in winning applications. Check out the podcast here.