Welcome to The Federal Corner. Federal agencies disburse billions of dollars in broadband funds each year through multiple agencies and programs. Identifying and educating our state’s broadband stakeholders about these federal programs is essential to Colorado’s ability to secure our “unfair share” of federal funds in order to facilitate broadband access for all Coloradans. In support of Colorado stakeholders’ efforts to secure federal funding, The Federal Corner will provide summary information and links to federal initiatives affecting broadband funding policy and programs.
United States Department of Agriculture
ReConnect is the USDA’s newest grant, loan, and combination grant/loan program supporting broadband access to rural homes, farms and businesses.
The USDA will commit up to $600 million in Round 2 ReConnect funding. Three Colorado broadband providers applied for $25.1M in USDA ReConnect Round 2 100% Grant funds. The ReConnect 100% Grant product requires a 25% match, ($8.4M) making the total project cost $33.5M for the proposed broadband projects. If funded, these projects will provide FTTH to over 3,112 locations in western Colorado.
Awards will be posted on the USDA ReConnect Program webpage.
For more information about ReConnect and Colorado, visit our ReConnect webpage.
Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant (DLT)
On April, 3, the USDA announced that it would make $72M available to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities by opening a second application window for funding under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. Electronic applications for window two may be submitted through grants.gov and are due no later than July 13, 2020. DLT grant applications are accepted through a competitive process and applicants are required to provide a minimum 15 percent match. Awards can range from $50,000 to $1,000,000 in the FY 2020 program.
Federal Communications Commission
Administered by Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)
- E-rate: Ensuring that schools and libraries across the U.S. are connected to information and resources through the internet
- Rural Health Care: Supporting healthcare facilities in bringing world class medical care to rural areas through increased connectivity
- Lifeline: Lowering the monthly cost of phone or internet service
- High Cost: Expanding networks in underserved areas so that all people in the U.S. have access to affordable voice and broadband
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)
- The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is the Commission’s next step in bridging the digital divide to efficiently fund the deployment of broadband networks in rural America. Through a two-phase reverse auction mechanism, the FCC will direct up to $20.4 billion over ten years to finance up to gigabit speed broadband networks in unserved rural areas, connecting millions of American homes and businesses to digital opportunity.
For more information about RDOF in Colorado, visit our RDOF webpage.
The FCC continues to make progress on a number of proceedings. Below is a brief description of the Report and Orders (R&Os) and Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRMs) with links containing more information.