November 22, 2023 by Jessica Koch

Are You a Good Broadband Funding Candidate?

 

Jessica Koch

Broadband Program Manager, Calix

 

The first step to becoming a good broadband funding candidate is understanding the specific eligibility requirements for each opportunity and the strategies you’ll need to develop to maximize points on your application. 

When it comes to determining how funds will be awarded, decision makers consider a range of factors. Financial feasibility, technical capability thresholds, speed levels, as well as standards for infrastructure resiliency are all key ingredients that contribute to your priority as potential funding candidate. Reading the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is the best place to start, to evaluate your ability to be competitive.  

Maximize Your Chances of Securing a Slice of The Funding Pie

PARTICIPATE IN THE ACP. Many funding opportunities require candidates to participate in the FCC’s ACP to remove affordability barriers to broadband service. 

TAP THE EXPERTISE OF EXTERNAL PARTNERS. They are well versed in the broadband industry and can guide you through eligibility and funding applications. 

PROVIDE SPEED. Focus on unserved locations lacking service of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream, or underserved locations lacking service of at least 100 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream, with a network that can scale to deliver symmetrical speeds of 100 Mbps or faster. 

SERVICE AN UNFUNDED AREA. Funding mechanisms will not duplicate funding for locations previously funded by other state or federal programs. 

THINK ABOUT MATCH REQUIREMENTS. Many programs require providers to bring a match to the table including in-kind matches and require the match to be spent before authorizing grant funds.  

CONSIDER RURALITY. The USDA ReConnect program awards critical points for applicants serving the least dense population areas, and locations at least 100 miles from a city or town with a population greater than 50,000 people.

It’s critical to take these steps to prepare for upcoming funding waves now. States are currently developing their five-year action plans and you don’t want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime wave of broadband grants and funds. With the right preparation and partnerships, you can maximize your chances for funding success.

For the most up-to-date funding sources for broadband projects in the United States, their qualification criteria, and how to get started, download The Ultimate Guide to Broadband Funding 2023 eBook.