$10 Billion Available Now for States, Territories and Tribal Areas To Improve Digital Connectivity in Their Local CommunitiesPublications - Client Alert | September 29, 2021
On September 24, 2021 the U.S. Department of Treasury began accepting applications from states, territories, and tribal areas for the $10 billion available for capital projects to improve broadband, enhance digital connectivity, build libraries and similar community centers, and undertake a range of connectivity-related projects. This funding is available under the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. A set amount of funding is available to each governmental entity; for example Alabama receives up to $191 million and Virginia receives up to $219 million. Although this is not a competitive grant program, states and territories must submit an Application and a Grant Plan; for tribal governments, the Application also serves as their Grant Plan.
In addition to supporting broadband, the Capital Projects Fund provides flexibility for each state, territory, and tribal government to make investments in projects designed to enable work, education, and health monitoring. For example, the purchase and installation of devices and equipment to facilitate broadband internet access are eligible for funding in areas where affordability has been identified by the recipient as a barrier to broadband adoption and use. Permitted devices and equipment include laptops, tablets and desktop personal computers for distribution to members of the public through a short- or long-term loan program or to be made available for use in public facilities such as libraries or community centers. Permitted equipment includes public wi-fi infrastructure such as access points and routers.
The Capital Projects Fund also provides flexibility for each recipient to identify communities that have critical needs related to work, education, and health monitoring. If you are a community interested in receiving funds from your State, Territory, or Tribal Government, you should work with your Applicant entity to craft a Grant Plan now. If you are a state, territory, or tribal government, please note that the application window closes in a few months. Specifically, states and territories must submit their Applications by December 27, 2021 and their Grant Plans by September 24, 2022. Tribal governments must submit their Applications no later than June 1, 2022.
If you have questions about your organization’s preparation or submission of a possible Application or Grant Plan, including which projects may be eligible for funding, please contact your Kutak Rock attorney, a member of our Technology Practice Group, Tribal Finance Practice Group or Government Services Practice Group.