Funding - Opportunities
As the LinkWISCONSIN initiative moves forward, it is important to identify and leverage all available funding sources for both demand and supply-side programs. For example, demand-side initiatives designed to advance health care, education, agricultural and other economic development opportunities may require non-traditional funding to support the design, launch and sustainability of each initiative.
Likewise, on the supply side, infrastructure development and service delivery efforts in rural areas may require non-commercial sources of funding such as government and foundation grants.
The following are a Federal Funding Manual and sample forms to help navigate a few of the key federal funding programs available for broadband and broadband-related programs.
Federal Funding Manual
Appendix of Sample Forms
The following is a list of grant opportunities we have identified at this time for broadband and related projects.
- On February 6, 2013, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced the availability of $121.5 million in grants to assist states as they prepare for a nationwide public safety broadband network. The grants will be available to all 56 states and territories, and will support planning, consultation, education and outreach activities, as well as help fund efforts to collect information on infrastructure and equipment that could be used by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) in building a wireless public safety broadband network.
The State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP), makes grants available to states, in collaboration with regional, tribal, and local jurisdictions, as FirstNet takes steps to help make a nationwide, interoperable network a reality. The SLIGP is designed as a formula-based, matching grant program. The Federal share of the grant program represents 80 percent of the total project costs, while recipients will contribute at least 20 percent.
Applications were due to NTIA from the states and territories by March 19, 2013. NTIA anticipates awarding the grants by July 15, 2013.
On August 21, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a Federal Register to announce requirements for the State and Local Implementation Grant Program .
The development of this Program is in response to the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that President Obama signed into law on February 22, 2012. The Act meets a long-standing priority of the Obama Administration to create a single, nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network that will, for the first time, allow police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical service professionals, and other public safety officials to communicate
with each other across agencies and jurisdictions.
The Act establishes the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within NTIA and authorizes it to take all actions necessary to ensure the design, construction, and operation of a nationwide public safety broadband network (PSBN), based on a single, national network architecture.
NTIA plans to distribute funding in two phases:
- Phase One: Focus on initial planning and consultation activities, including strategy and timeline development, meetings, governance planning, and outreach and education efforts
- Phase Two: Address states’ needs in preparing for additional consultation with FirstNet and planning to undertake data collection activities
Up to $135M will be available for the Program. Fifty-six (56) states and territories are eligible for grants. Each state and territory will need to submit an individual application, and states and territories may decide to collaborate or coordinate with other states and regions in preparing application submissions.
View a presentation given by NTIA to the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) to learn more about eligible uses of the funds and other information.
- On January 9, 2013, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) announced funding opportunities in the form of demand survey grants to support baseline data collection in 2013 with follow-up data as appropriate for each regional planning team’s particular needs.
With $90,000 in funding available, applicants are asked to submit proposals that will execute paper-based, mailed surveys to all nine, multi-county regions identified by LinkWISCONSIN and the State Broadband Office at the PSC.
Read more about the demand survey grants and how to apply.
The PSC hosted a training webinar on the implementation of these demand surveys on January 23, 2013.
(To view the webinar, (1) click on link provided above, (2) complete the fields requesting name and email address, and (3) click on 'View Recording.' A prompt will ask if you want to run the BlackBoard Collaborate application. Click on Run, and the BlackBoard will open the recorded webinar. The audio begins after approximately 45 seconds.)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau staff has prepared a Staff Report to assist the FCC in considering reforms to the Rural Health Care support mechanism and in developing sound evaluation plans for any new programs.
For the first time ever, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a competition to discover the best ways to increase broadband adoption rates among low-income Americans.
The competition is funded by the newly created “Broadband Adoption Lifeline Pilot Program.” It builds on the Connect to
Compete initiative, a public-private partnership aimed at helping to close the broadband adoption gap that
was launched by the Commission last year.
Applicants had to be telecommunications carriers eligible to participate in Lifeline. They were encouraged to partner with existing broadband adoption programs as well as schools, libraries, state and local governments, non-profits and others. The winners will reflect a diversity of geographic areas (rural, urban), technologies (fixed, mobile), and service plans. At least one project will explore providing support on Tribal lands.
The application deadline was July 2, 2012, but you can read more about the competition in the FCC Public Notice.
As a reminder, the FCC released its Universal Service Fund (USF) & Intercarrier Compensation Reform Order and Further Notice of Proposal Rulemaking on November 18, 2011 ("The Reform Order"). Since The Reform Order's release, there has been some confusion as to whether USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is accepting and processing loan applications.
Read the Feb. 3, 2012 letter from USDA RUS reminding telecommunications borrowers and potential loan applicants that USDA RUS Telecom and Broadband is accepting and processing loan applications.
USDA has announced a change in their Rural Development Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program to include funding for improvements to 911 and emergency communications services in rural America. These changes will help rural communities obtain next generation 911 services necessary to maintain the security and safety of rural residents and businesses. Read more about USDA's Telecom Infrastructure Loans and how to apply.
View a presentation from RUS on the "Overview of Telecommunications and Broadband Loan and Grant Programs."
USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces the availability of $325,663,157 in loan funds for the Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program for fiscal year (FY) 2011. A Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) was previously published in the Federal Register on March 14, 2011, at 76 FR 13797, prior to the passage of a final appropriations bill identifying a definite funding amount. Applications can be submitted throughout the year and will be reviewed and processed on a first-come, first-served basis according to the time the application is received at the Washington DC Broadband Office. Read more about this funding opportunity.
USDA'S Rural Utilities Service provides programs to finance rural America's telecommunications infrastructure. The Broadband Loan Program provides loans to fund the costs of constructing, improving and acquiring facilities to provide broadband service to eligible rural communities. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program brings electronic educational resources to rural schools and improves health care delivery in rural America. The Community Connect Grant Program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide broadband in unserved areas to provide public safety services and foster economic growth.