Border-To-Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant Update

An update from the Office of Broadband Development…

The FY22 and FY23 broadband grant program is scheduled to be funded with federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, Sec. 604 Capital Projects Fund (CPF). The 2021 Legislature directed that $70 million of Minnesota’s allocation from that fund should be used for the broadband grant program. There is a three-step process for the state to receive the federal funding (which is being administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury): submit an application; upon Treasury’s approval of the application, execute a grant agreement; submit a state Grant Plan and one or more Program Plans for Treasury to review and approve.

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) at the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development is working through Treasury’s process for accessing the funding. Because this is a new process and aspects are outside of OBD’s control, OBD cannot commit to a specific date when the Border-to-Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant Application window will open. However, we are mindful that state law requires OBD to post the scoring criteria for this program at least 30 days before opening the application window. Therefore, OBD has posted the scoring criteria on the website and will move as expeditiously as possible to post the grant application and open the application window upon all of the necessary approvals from Treasury. OBD does anticipate that the Border-to-Border Broadband grant program will be conducted very much like prior broadband grant rounds, so you may want to review the materials available on the website related to those rounds if you are interested in applying for FY22 funding. Here is a direct link to the website: Broadband Grant Program / Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (mn.gov)

Minnesota’s total Capital Projects Fund allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act is $180,702,620. At this time, $70 million has been allocated by the state legislature for the broadband infrastructure grant program. OBD anticipates that decisions regarding the remaining CPF funding will be made during the 2022 legislative session.

Separately, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law on November 15, 2021, also contains funding for broadband infrastructure. That federal funding is being administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NTIA is required to issue a Notice of Funding Opportunity by May 15, 2022. Information on how and when that funding will be available to the states will be contained in the Notice.

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