There’s roughly $62 billion in federal funding available between now and 2028 for new broadband infrastructure projects.
You would think that makes it easier than ever to fund new broadband services, right? But with all the available opportunities including state programs, public and private investment, and municipal bonds, you may find yourself struggling to discern which is right for your broadband project.
You need a clear view of the funding landscape to determine your best path forward—and we’ve designed the ultimate funding guide to give you just that. For now, let’s dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of each federal funding program.
Federal Broadband Funding Programs
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD)—$42.5 billion
BEAD is a federal grant program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that aims to get all Americans online. By funding partnerships between states or territories, communities, and stakeholders, BEAD invests in infrastructure where it’s most needed to increase adoption of high-speed internet.
The funds can be used for research and training, deploying or upgrading internet access in unserved or underserved areas, installing service in multi-unit residences, launching digital equity programs, and more.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)—$18 billion
As part of ARPA, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has a Capital Project Fund (CPF) that enables recipients to build and deploy broadband infrastructure and a State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) to expand access to broadband internet.
Together, these two funds will help states, territories, local governments, and tribal governments deliver affordable, reliable, high-speed internet infrastructure, as well as other connectivity projects.
ReConnect Loan and Grant Program—$1.15 billion (application window closed)
Under the Farm Bill, the USDA manages ReConnect, which provides loans, grants, and loan-grant combinations to recipients to invest in rural broadband infrastructure that will deliver high-speed internet service to underserved communities. Funds can be applied to the costs of construction, to improve or acquire facilities, or to purchase equipment.
Community Connect—$79 million (application window closed)
Another USDA program, Community Connect grants fund broadband network builds in unserved rural, economically challenged areas that private sector providers deem economically unviable to deliver services.
Recipients can use funds to construct, acquire, lease facilities, spectrum, land, or buildings to deploy broadband service to all residential and business customers within the proposed service area. Up to 10 percent of the grant can be used to improve, expand, build, or buy a community center that provides online access to the public.
With the billions of dollars in federal and state funding we can begin to narrow the digital divide and reduce the socioeconomic disparities that threaten the long-term viability of rural America. But don’t delay—it’s critical to prepare for upcoming funding waves now.
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.