A new grant program funded by Truist Bank's philanthropic initiative and administered by the Internet Society will disburse $1 million in funds to seven community broadband projects over the next year and a half. The Expanding Potential in Communities (EPIC) Grant program is currently soliciting applications, with grants to be disbursed to eligible communities across the southeast United States, including Washington D.C. and Texas, ranging from $125,000-180,000. The program is aimed at kickstarting Covid 19 relief efforts but also providing essential, locally owned broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved communities.
From the grant program website:
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of broadband Internet connectivity into focus as work, school, healthcare, and more shift online. Internet connectivity is more important than ever in keeping our lives moving . . . The $1 million Expanding Potential in Communities (EPIC) Grant program supports broadband initiatives in the southeastern United States . . . As the administrating partner, the Internet Society will support local broadband expansion by funding complementary Internet connectivity solutions to help alleviate disparities in education, employment, and social welfare that are exacerbated by lack of access to broadband.
See eligibility requirements below:
- Timeframe – project must show tangible results within a year of receiving funding. Funding will occur in two stages between April and December 2021.
- Location – project must be completed in one of the following states: North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Washington DC, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland.
- Bandwidth – project must provide a minimum broadband threshold for deployment.
- Applicant must have an official bank account in their name (based on their legal registration) in order to be eligible for a grant.
In addition, projects will be chosen based on their ability to demonstrate community support with participation from local leaders, a minimum bandwidth requirement, finance skills, an assessment of local ordinances and assets friendly to quick deployment, the participation of local private industry partners, and a summary of the target demographic. Read the full eligibility and selection criteria for more, or visit the grant page to download an application.
Awards will be announced in April with funds disbursed in two rounds to winning projects. The application window opened January 25 and runs through February 19th at 6pm EST.