Funding the planning, deployment, and operation of a community broadband network takes a lot of capital. Thankfully, multiple funding sources for broadband related projects are now available for state and local government use. Roughly $100 billion of federal and state grants are flowing to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), local governments, non-profit community networks, rural electric utilities, and others to spur deployment of high-speed broadband networks at affordable prices to broadband deserts.

Understanding funding sources for broadband

Available funds can be used to install and light-up hundreds of thousands of miles of high-speed fiber-optic cables and interconnections to community anchor institutions (CAIs) such as schools, governments, non-profits, and healthcare providers. But distributing $100 billion of grants nationwide to those most in need can get very complex.

Cisco Public Funding Office Federal Grant Chart

Almost one hundred federal agencies and fifty states are awarding grants for broadband availability, affordability, and/or adoption. To help manage the complexity of these federal grants, many state and local governments are:

  • retaining consultants
  • forming broadband authorities and industry advisory committees
  • forming public private partnerships with ISPs and digital equity advocacy organizations.

At Cisco, we feel that funding digital equity for all is an achievable goal. This can be done by leveraging multiple funding sources for broadband concurrently and serially. There are federal and state grants for:

  • planning and administrative costs
  • access to connectivity
  • affordability subsidies
  • adoption and digital equity.

All over the nation, ISPs, state, tribal, and local governments, rural electric utilities, and economic development agencies are building and extending open access middle mile networks interconnected to local last mile networks. In addition to grants solely for broadband, these networks are partially financed by grants for distance learning, telehealth, housing, transportation, public safety, and other government functions for which broadband infrastructure and cybersecurity are eligible expenses.

Let us help you navigate funding sources for broadband

While there are rules, regulations, and reporting that come along with federal and state funding, leveraging these dollars is the route communities are taking to fund broadband networks and interconnections to CAIs. But much of the information around broadband, and funding in general, can lead to confusion.

That’s where the Cisco Public Funding Office can add direct value to your broadband project. We can help guide you through the available funding sources for broadband and also offer support throughout your journey. We’ll help align your organization with the most applicable dollars to stand up your vital programs and projects. Remember, we’re here to help. It’s as easy as reaching out to your Cisco Account Manager or Public Funding Advisor today to get the conversation started.

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Mitch Gorsen

Public Funding Advisor, Business Development Manager

US Public Sector Sales