Update on Federal Capital Projects Funds for Broadband and call for applications

Fierce Telecom reports…

Much of the hype around broadband funding is focused on the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, but money continues to flow from the Capital Projects Fund. To date, the U.S. Treasury Department has awarded nearly $5 billion from the Capital Projects Fund across 33 states, program director Joseph Wender revealed at the ACA Summit on Wednesday.

That amount is almost half of the Treasury Department’s $10 billion allotment for the fund. States that have received funding thus far expect to connect 1.4 million households as a result, said Wender.

The Capital Projects Fund was created in March 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), but the Treasury Department only began approving state funding requests last June. Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia and West Virginia were the first to receive their allotments.

The Treasury Department expects to dole out most of the remaining $5 billion this year. Projects using the Capital Projects Fund dollars must be completed by the end of 2026.

It sounds like the funders are telling communities to check this out and apply…

“Don’t wait on BEAD,” he added. “Our money is available now…in some cases these are the low-hanging fruit of areas and states that are not served.”

Minnesota approved for $44 million in Capital Projects Fund

Broadband Breakfast reports…

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday announced the approval of broadband projects in an additional six states under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah.

Together, these states will use their funding to connect more than 180,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.

The Capital Projects Fund provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency. In addition to the $10 billion provided by the CPF, many governments are using a portion of their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds toward connecting to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.

This is what is happening in Minnesota…

  • Minnesota is approved for $44 million for broadband infrastructure. Minnesota’s award will fund two additional broadband infrastructure programs: Minnesota’s Line Extension Program, a competitive grant program designed to address the needs of individuals who are located near infrastructure for high-quality broadband service but where the cost of the last mile connection is a barrier; and the Low-Density Pilot Program, a competitive grant program that provides financial resources for new and existing providers to invest in building broadband infrastructure in low-density areas of the state that currently lack high-speed internet. Funding from CPF will help Minnesota continue its efforts to provide reliable internet access to predominately rural locations previously facing cost barriers. Both programs are designed to provide internet service with speeds of 100 * 100 Mbps symmetrical to households and businesses upon project completion. Minnesota submitted plans for the remainder of their CPF funds and these applications are currently under review by Treasury.