Applicants must demonstrate a matching share from non-funding agency sources that is identified and forthcoming to the project. Matching sources may be nonfederal, other federal, or a combination of sources, including in-kind sources. The maximum share of program assistance is determined by the funding agency's classification of the county or counties served by the proposed activities, and the amount of match required will vary depending on the county designation. Information regarding the funding agency's economic designations and corresponding matching requirements can be found online at www.arc.gov.
For a multicounty project, the following special matching rules apply if there is a distressed county in the project:
- If at least half of the counties are distressed, the project may be funded at up to 80 percent of project costs
- If at least half of the counties are some combination of distressed and at-risk, assistance can be the higher of 70 percent of project costs or the average percentage applicable to the various counties in the project
- If fewer than half the counties are distressed, assistance can be the higher of 50 percent of project costs or the average percentage applicable to the various counties in the project
If there is no competitive county or attainment county in a project, and at least half the counties are at-risk, the project may be funded at up to 70 percent of project costs.
All other multicounty projects will be funded at the average percentage applicable to the various counties in the project, except that the portion of a project that is attributable to an attainment county in a project that does not include a distressed county will be considered ineligible for assistance and may not be considered for matching purposes.
For broadband deployment projects, priority will be given to projects with evidence of leveraged funding for the overall project.
An unspecified amount of funding is available for this program overall, with up to one-third of the total funding available to support support awards through this component, as follows:
- Broadband deployment and broadband as a service (BaaS) projects: awards ranging from $400,000 to $2.5 million
- Broadband feasibility studies projects: awards of up to $50,000
To qualify for broadband deployment funding, at least 65 percent of the project budget must be directed to the physical deployment of broadband infrastructure. Project budgets that direct more than 35 percent of funds toward activities not directly associated with deployment of broadband infrastructure will follow the same guidelines as awards funded through the Implementation Grants component, known in eCivis Grants Network as US16850A.
The project period is likely to begin on October 1, 2024. Implementation projects that do not go to contract by December 1, 2024, are subject to disqualification. The project period will last from 12 to 36 months for non-construction implementation projects. The project period may last up to 48 months for construction implementation projects. The project period may last up to 12 months for planning projects.
Funds may not be used for:
- Application preparation costs
- Deployment to areas that already have adequate broadband availability
- Subsidizing an area that will receive a government subsidy from a different source
- Overlaying existing areas that have adequate service or provide unfair competition
In October 2023, nearly $54 million was distributed via 64 awards through this program overall. In October 2022, nearly $47 million was distributed via 52 awards through this program overall. In March 2022, nearly $21 million was distributed via 21 awards. Refer to the Award file for details.