With the first traunch of American Rescue Plan funds going out to counties and cities earlier this summer, many local leaders have begun to propose projects and seek input from citizens about how they should be used. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) represents an unprecedented amount of money flowing to local governments, but the consequences of operating for more than a year and a half under the burden of the Covid-19 pandemic are such that there seems to be so many things that need attention.
Access to universal, affordable, fast Internet access is among them, but the road from recognizing the need and implementing thoughtful policies is not an equally smooth one for all. Sometimes, a little inspiration is all it takes.
That's where this page comes in. This is our ongoing list of projects which are under consideration, have been announced, or are under way. Arranged alphabetically by state and organized by whether they are under consideration or are planned, the below are those broadband expansion projects being pursued by cities and counties as they look to expand access via telephone and electric cooperatives, nonprofits, community-owned solutions, or private providers.
It currently features 139 community-led broadband projects, as well as 17 states which have announced significant broadband grant programs or disbursement for new infrastructure projects.
For a comprehensive breakdown of state broadband grant programs keep up with ILSR’s ongoing series tracking Rescue Plan funded state broadband programs, How American Rescue Plan Broadband Funds Stack Up in the States, which details which state programs favor community-driven connectivity solutions (right now Arkansas, California, Maine, Maryland, Vermont, and Washington), which will likely end up subsidizing big monopoly ISPs, and which fall somewhere in between.
This page will be updated in the coming weeks and months, but if you have any corrections, additions, or updates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gadsden is considering using some of its $24 million to establish "media centers" with broadband access and devices for students to complete homework.
The city of Mobile is considering a mayoral plan for Rescue Plan funds including using $3 million to extended broadband access to unserved and underserved areas. There's no word on whether it would be to subsidize for-profit providers to extend access, work with a local telephone company or cooperative, or build municipally owned infrastructure.
The Akiak Native Community, currently only able to get slow and expensive Internet access through the TERRA network, will soon have a new solution. The community is launching an effort to lease LEO connectivity through satellite provider OneWeb to a fixed wireless tower before it is retransmitted using the 2.5GHz spectrum bands for residential and business access to all. There's no word on how much the effort cost, but other communities are already looking to follow suit.
Arizona is set to receive $4.2 billion in American Rescue Plan funds, half of which has been received by the state. Of that, state lawmakers have allocated $100 million to expand broadband infrastructure. The money is being sent to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to deploy fiber conduit along Interstate 17 and Interstate 19.
Yavapai County officials have committed $20 million of the county’s $45.6 million in American Rescue Plan funds toward a $50 million broadband project to extend the county’s network currently serving schools and libraries, to all homes and businesses within Yavapai County. In addition to the county’s portion, another $6.12 million for the project will come from municipalities matching fund contributions. Participating municipalities, including the city of Sedona, are required to contribute 20 percent of their ARP funds.
The governor has proposed adding $250 million to the Arkansas Rural Connect grant program with Rescue Plan funds, which is roughly how much the program has disbursed since its founding in 2019. The plan will need approval from the state's Rescue Plan steering committee as well as the Legislative Council.
The Arkansas Legislative Council has approved $120 million in state Rescue Plan dollars to go to 34 "shovel-ready" broadband projects across the state, with an additional $27 million provisionally approved for 12 additional projects that are eligible if they pass technical review. While a significant portion of the funds look to be going to national provider Windstream, also funded are as many as seven projects by electric cooperatives totaling $18 million. See the full list here.
Little Rock will spend $337,000 on expanding broadband to the East Little Rock Community Center and to place Internet access hot spots in city parks.
The state has announced that $3.25 billion will go towards its announced middle-mile infrastructure network. In addition, California lawmakers have coalesced around a strategy that includes state-funded technical assistance teams to provide guidance to communities building municipal networks. It has established a $750 million financing program so that municipalities, cooperatives, and nonprofits can access long-term, low-interest financing to build out fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks. Beyond that, as EFF reports, “an additional $2 billion is (also) available in grants for unserved pockets of the state for private and public applicants.”
Fairfield City voted in May 2021 to approve a plan to build out a city-owned network using a portion of the funds it is set to receive. It has partnered with Magellan Advisors, and has launched a community survey to get input.
Tiburon has voted to spend $94,000 of its $2.1 million to contract Magellan Advisors to assess connectivity in the community and offer recommendations for improving access. The firm will report back its findings and offer suggestions around the middle of 2022.
Barstow will spend $160,000 to upgrade network infrastructure for its city hall, police facilities, and the wastewater treatment plant.
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors has allocated $2.5 million of its expected $19.3 million for infrastructure projects, of which broadband is named as a priority.
The Chico City Council voted to earmark $5 million of the city’s $22 million in federal relief funds to research and implement a plan to improve citywide Internet access. City council members have already authorized spending $250,000 of the funds to develop a Broadband Master Plan in conjunction with EntryPoint Networks.
Auburn City Manager John Donlevy has suggested broadband improvements as among the three highest priorities for the city's $3.45 million, with committees to explore options for moving forward.
Colorado has established a state broadband office, and allocated a total of $75 million for new broadband infrastructure. It looks like among those funds, $20 million will be grants aimed directly at tribal connectivity efforts and $15 million for telehealth services. An additional $35 million creates a broadband stimulus grant program. It encourages the office to prioritize applicants that did not receive state funding in previous five years for lack of funds.
Kiowa County Commissioners agreed to commit $4,096 of the county’s $273,099 in Rescue Plan funds to the Southern Colorado Economic Development District (SCEDD) for two broadband grant applications, including (1) a SCEDD grant request to DOLA to partially-fund the creation of a Comprehensive Implementation Blueprint and (2) a SCEDD grant to request to the EDA to largely-fund the hiring of a Broadband Coordinator and support staff for three years.
The City and County of Broomfield are considering teaming up to spend their roughly $20 million in funds on a variety of projects, including $5 million to update water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
Boulder, which continues to make progress on a city-owned network, is setting aside $15 million for its "long-term" projects focused on "public health and safety, affordability and service access and community and economic resiliency," which includes an expansion of a fiber network. In the meantime, the city will use some funds to provide Internet access to public housing sites.
The city of Bristol is considering using some of the $28 million it will receive to extend its current fiber network, which serves government buildings and schools. Local officials are talking about extending that fiber first into surrounding neighborhoods, but eventually reaching the whole city. Bristol is waiting on a report from a consulting firm it has hired to gauge interest and costs in late August, but part of the project comes as the result of regular complaints about the current ISP.
Delaware Gov. John Carney, along with the state’s other top officials, have announced $110 million of the state’s Rescue Plan funds will be set aside “to cover every ‘last mile’ of Delaware with high-speed, wireline broadband Internet service.” Unfortunately, language from the governor's office suggests that the money is not intended to be used for community-owned broadband networks but to be awarded to privately-owned Internet Service Providers. Even more disappointing is that Aacording to Government Technology, who spoke with Clarke after the announcement, even though Clarke said the state wants ISPs to deliver 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) symmetrical services, “vendors can decide whether to use fiber optics or copper to hook up the addresses, so long as the service supports sufficient bandwidth.”
The town of Arden is considering improving broadband access among a handful of options.
Alachua County has indicated in its Recovery Plan Performance Report that it will allocate $15 million toward broadband infrastructure. The county plans to work with "cities, [the] school board, colleges and UF on maximizing the impact of providing broadband to underserved and unserved communities," though the endeavor remains "under development."
Flagler County will aim to use 4.5%, or about $1 million, to expand Internet access to unserved and underserved areas, committing funds from the first traunch coming its way.
The Gainesville City Commission has heard dozens of proposals for its $32 million, including two relating to broadband. Among them is one that calls for spending $15 million by 2023 to bring new fiber to economically disadvantaged neighborhoods as well as public housing run by the city.
Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse has called bringing Internet access to the county's 2,400 completely unserved locations "our No. 1 item" as it considers how to spend the $78 million it is slated to receive.
Sarasota City Commissioners have given initial approval of the city’s FY 2021-22 budget, which allocates a portion of the city’s $10.1 million in relief funds toward installing free Wi-Fi in four city parks.
Peachtree Corners has approved plans for $16.4 million in funds, of which $1 million is a tentative Wi-Fi project using city light poles. While it is unlikely signals would be strong enough to reach residents in their homes, it would improve connectivity options outside.
Brunswick has indicated it will use a portion of its initial $4.6 million on "broadband enhancements," but there are no specifics at this point in time.
Floyd County is working on a potential public-private partnership to use some portion of the county's $19.1 million to expand broadband to unserved areas where, local officials say, grants are hard to get because of the proportion of the population that already has basic broadband access.
Augusta, Georgia is considering a broadband project among the infrastructure it will tackle with its $80 million in federal funds. $22.6 million in water meter, drainage, affordable housing, and EMS operations have already been recommended by the City Administrator.
The state has established a broadband infrastructure grant program of $5 million to bring service to unserved and underserved (defined as less than 50/5 Mbps) location. It requires applicants to commit 60% of the funds for projects, and explicitly bars local governments from applying.
Ammon, Idaho is planning to use some Rescue Plan money to extend its open access fiber network into "lesser-served areas of town," according to Mayor Sean Coletti.
The Grange City Council is considering a proposal by the local economic development association, the Port of Lewiston, and a district broadband task force to allocate 10 percent of its Rescue Plan funds, or $67,000, to a middle-mile backbone project intended to improve last-mile connectivity and spur investment.
The group is also approaching other counties and cities in District 2, which includes a portion of Boise as well as 26 counties. Among those local governments that have heard the propsal, one has committed funds. The group is asking the rest for funds as follows: "According to information provided at the meeting, city seats were requested to make the following 10 percent allocations of their ARPA funding: Lewiston, $620,020; Moscow, $530,344; Grangeville, $66,793; Orofino, $63,946; and Nezperce, $9,451. Counties were requested to make 25 percent allocations (except Lewis County at 24 percent): Nez Perce, $1.950M; Latah, $1.917M; Idaho, $780,000; Clearwater $422,500; and Lewis, $175,500."
The city of Decatur is using $115,000 of ARP relief funds to move forward with an Institutional Network (I-Net) expansion that will connect 11 school districts and 3 firehouses to its growing fiber-optic backbone. Although some of the funding is coming from federal relief, the project will largely be funded by a Connect Illinois grant.
Cook County officials have announced that expanding access to broadband is one of two top priorities as the county determines how to spend just over $1 billion in ARP funds. The county is urging residents to complete this survey to give feedback about how relief funds should be spent.
In August, state lawmakers in Indiana allocated $250 million of its Rescue Plan funds for the Next Level Connections Broadband Grant program. With that allotment, the grant program now has $270 million available to award grant applicants. That money is available to both private incumbent providers who have served “at least 100 subscribers for at least three years in Indiana,” as well as to utility cooperatives operating in the state. The minimum subscriber requirement indicates that the money can't be used, at least initially, to jumpstart new community network options.
Howard County Commissioners have voted unanimously to spend $1.5-2 million on expanding access and options, issuing an RFP to either fiber or wireless providers to bring access to unserved or underserved parts of town. As one condition from the RFP, respondents must prove the infrastructure they build can match 100 Mbps/20 Mbps speeds and 100 ms latency, and include a pricing structure that includes plans or subsidies for low-income residents. It is unclear if the infrastructure would be publicly owned.
Miami County has pledged $1.4 million of its $6.8 million to contribute to a fiber-to-the-home project by local cooperative Miami-Cass REMC. The money will help the cooperative install 65 miles of fiber to speed up deployment in rural parts of the county.
The Dubois City Council is considering allocating $4.35 million of the county’s $8.3 million in ARP funds to the Dubois Electric Cooperative to extend fiber infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas in the county.
Vanderburgh County, Indiana has issued an RFP soliciting providers to build new infrastructure in underserved locations in the county. As it considers using Rescue Plan funds to incent investment and provide a local match, is asking respondents for plans that meet the network eligibility requirements set forth in the legislation.
Gary, Indiana Mayor Jerome Prince is received a little more than $40 million in Rescue Plan funds, of which a proposed plan developed in collaboration with business leaders includes a portion of $25 million for investments in broadband infrastructure.
Lee County Board of Supervisors has voted to spend 30 percent of its Rescue Plan funds, totaling $1.95 million, to contribute to a project with local company Danville Telecom to expand the latter's fiber footprint across higway 16 to reach additional households. Danville will pair the county contribution with a recent $3.55 million grant from the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant program, covering the entire cost of the project.
A steering committee tasked with setting the parameters on how Lee County officials disseminate $6.5 million in ARP relief funds has recommended spending 30 percent, or approximately $2 million of funds, to improve Internet infrastructure.
Waterloo city officials are considering using a portion of the city’s $30 million in American Rescue Plan funds to build a fiber network throughout the community, which would be operated by a newly-established municipal broadband utility.
The Southeast Iowa Regional and Economic Port Authority (SIREPA) has already announced that it will be requesting $2 million in county ARP funds, the full 30 percent of the funds the committee preliminarily allocated to broadband improvements in the county.
The state of Kentucky will devote $300 million of its Rescue Plan funds to a grant program for unserved and underserved locations throughout the state. The first round of grant applications, totaling $50 million, are due in October and will be disbursed in spring 2022.
Calloway County has voted to partner with local cooperative WK&T as it continues to expand its fiber-to-the-home network in the region, committing $6.2 million (with the cooperative doing the same) to expand the latter's network to every unserved and underserved location in the county. In addition, the contract providers "free services to all the Calloway County Fire-Rescue stations." In total, an estimated 5,300 homes and businesses will receive service, with the county indicating that its Rescue Plan funds are a promising option for the local match.
The state of Louisiana has established a $180 million grant fund with its Rescue Plan money to bring service to unserved and underserved communities around the state. Applicants will have to commit to contributing 20 percent to projects and "high-speed Internet [access] at affordable prices for the next five years." On a welcome note, those projects which "receive buy-in from local governments will earn extra points."
The parish of St. Mary is expected to use some of the funds it receives to improve connectivity in and between government buildings.
The state has allocated $128 million of its American Rescue Plan funds to expand access to broadband. The funds will be disbursed by the ConnectMaine Authority.
City Counselors of Caribou unanimously approved a plan to use $159,000 of $801,892 in federal relief to undertake an engineering study with Pioneer Broadband in pursuit of a city owned fiber-to-the-home network, which would be operated by a third party.
Knox County is mulling a request by the MidCoast Internet Coalition for $7.7 million in its pursuit of a nonprofit regional broadband utility. It is also considering requests from four communities looking to expand broadband access in parts of town with poor or no connections, including: Vinalhaven, Rockport, Union, and Owls Head.
State Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland State Legislature have approved a plan to use $300 million of the $3.9 billion in federal aid the state is receiving to expand broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion initiatives across the state. Of the $300 million, $97 million will go towards funding the construction of physical infrastructure, and $45 million is earmarked specifically for grants to buildout municipal broadband networks. It’s one of the biggest allotments of funds specifically targeted at municipal networks of any state in the nation. The budget agreement also includes $45 million to subsidize monthly Internet service costs for qualifying families and $30 million to pay for Internet-connected devices for financially eligible households. It also includes an additional $4 million for a new University System of Maryland program to support training and developing curriculum to bridge the digital divide as well as $2 million for digital navigator programs. Find an itemized breakdown of the $300 million investment here.
The Allegany County Board of Commissioners is using a combination of relief funds and state grant funding to invest $1 million to bring wireless Internet access to several underserved areas.
Worcester County has committed $4.6 million of its funds to expanding broadband and contributing to the county's firefighting department, as part of a plan to incent Internet Service Providers to improve connectivity in the region. So far, Worcester County Commissioners have voted unanimously to allocate $820,000 of those broadband expansion funds to the Maryland Broadband Cooperative.
Mayor Brandon Scott considers broadband to be one of three top spending priorities for Baltimore's $641 million in Rescue Plan funds.
In Pittsfield, a municipal broadband network is the second-most popular result of a citywide survey asking residents what it should do with its funds.
The Milton Select Board is considering spending ARP funds to develop a municipal broadband system.
The Greenfield Mayor has indicated that using some funds to complete the city's municipal network (GCET) would be a priority, and is soliciting community feedback.
Worcester has committed $12 million for the "study and implementation of key broadband improvements," in the city, as it continues to explore municipal broadband.
Worcester County has named broadband as one of its top funding priorities, with commissioners indicating that while some will go to sewer infrastructure "the rest [will] focus on expanding broadband and providing financial support to local fire companies." The county is currently considering a request from Talkie Communications for a $5 million loan to expand in targeted areas. The county commissioner work group is set to make further decisions later this month.
Beckett is considering a plan to ask for Rescue Plan funds to retire some of the debt the town incurred in building its municipal broadband network.
Washtenaw County Commissioners have approved a plan to use $14.6 million in American Rescue Plan funds to bring broadband infrastructure to all county households that lack reliable high-speed Internet. The county was recently nearing the finish line on a plan to fund as many as four different providers to complete its goal of bringing universal basic broadband service to everyone in the county, reaching the last 3,000 or so households. It issued an RFP in May and is considering proposals by four firms, including local cooperative (and big recent RDOF winner) MEC.
The Green Township Board of Trustees approved a motion to spend up to $75,000 to purchase two towers to expand fixed wireless coverage. Although the towers will be purchased using a loan from the general fund, the loan will be repaid with ARP funds once the funds are disbursed by the state of Michigan, which is expected to occur in September.
The Branch County Commission has asked its auditors to review a study by private wireless ISP Aspen Wireless which would use some of the county's $8.4 million in funds to help extend wireless infrastructure to cover "everyone in the county without high-speed services" at a cost of $40-45 million. It is not clear whether the network infrastructure would be owned by Aspen Wireless or the county at this time.
Webster Township's Board has passed a resolution "encouraging" the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners to use funds to expand broadband access. Webster Township itself will receive $712,000, though there is no word yet on if it will use any of those funds for broadband projects.
The Duluth City Council has approved a plan to spend $12.8 million of the $58.1 million it will receive on infrastructure, including $1 million on broadband. There are no additional details, excepting a line item in a recent press release which says the money could be used to "incentivize broadband providers to the City."
Otter Tail County Commissioners have committed spending 25 percent of the county’s American Rescue Plan funds, or $2.8 million, on projects which will expand broadband access.
Sherburne County officials will disperse $1.5 million of the county’s $18.8 million in Rescue Plan dollars through a broadband grant program. The county is taking applications from service providers, and will award up to $1.5 million in grants to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas. The application can be found on Sherburne County's website and all applications are due on December 31, 2021.
Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners have earmarked $330,000 of the county’s $8.3 million in American Rescue Plan funds toward a broadband project aiming to deliver fiber to all premises within Prinsburg city limits. The County Board of Commissioners continues to approve grants for broadband expansion projects, using the county's American Rescue Plan Act allocation. Commissioners recently approved funding up to $185,828 to help pay for broadband upgrades in three neighborhoods located in New London Township and a small piece of Burbank Township.
The Wabasha County Board of Commissioners voted to commit $1 million of the county’s $4.2 million in Rescue Plan funds toward expanding rural Internet access. Wabasha County Administrator Michael Plante said he “envisions a grant program where Internet providers can apply through a request for proposals, letting the county know what projects they prioritize in rural area.”
St. Louis County, Minnesota has earmarked a total of $2 million so far in broadband grant programs aimed at boosting connectivity efforts led by communities in the region. By committing a match, the latter can apply for funds in pursuit of a wide range of planning and development activities. Those grant applications are due in September.
One township already taking advantage of St. Louis County's grant program is Greenwood, which is pursuing upcoming federal infrastructure dollars along with county funds and considering using some of its own $50,000 in Rescue Plan funds for the local match. Broadband continues to be a primary concern to local leaders, with the township running a broadband survey for residents and businesses right now.
Governor Parson has announced a plan to devote $400 million to broadband access aimed at 17,000 households, businesses, and other premises. Cole County Broadband Task Force member Roger Kloeppel, who also works for Three Rivers Electric Cooperative, told the News Tribune he was concerned whether public entities or only private providers would eligible for funding, noting that relying on private companies to take the lead is likely to leave pockets of unserved regions because private companies are focused on building only in areas where short-term returns can be made, as opposed to the cooperative approach in which serving every member in a service territory is more important than turning a profit.
The St. Louis Board of Alderman approved a plan to allocate $500,000 of $439 million in federal relief to expand access to public Wi-Fi and broadband.
The Stoddard County Commission unanimously voted to allocate $5 million of the county’s relief funds toward infrastructure projects, including broadband. The Stoddard County Commission asked SEMO Electric Cooperative about the cost to bring high-speed Internet to Puxico and rural areas of western Stoddard County, during a June Commission Meeting.
Columbia Mayor Brian Treece has set aside $10 million in ARP funds to improve access to broadband. To officially allocate the funding, the city council must authorize the motion during public hearings in September. Mayor Treece said he has already begun talking with council members about allocating the funding.
Gasconade County Commissioners and the Gasconda County Broadband Committee continue to talk about connectivity solutions in the region, and whether Rescue Plan funds could be used as part of the solution.
The state has created a $275 million fund for communications projects "related to broadband infrastructure, including cell towers, or public safety, if eligible." It requires that local governments and private providers applying include matching funds, and gives preference to “projects that provide broadband access to frontier, unserved, and underserved areas as designated by the department of commerce.” The bill also gives preference to projects that provide a higher match rate.
Bozeman has allocated $94,000 towards broadband infrastructure projects around the city.
The city of Lincoln in partnership with Lancaster County will spend $12 milion to expand connectivity in rural areas, though further details have not been released.
White Pine County has proposed contributing $300,000 in an NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program application to build ftth in partnership with ISP Geoverse in McGill, Nevada.
Bristol will put $300,000 towards its municipally owned fiber-to-the-home network, which has made substantial progress in the last year. Town Administrator Nik Coates tells New Hampshire Public Radio that it's going to "completely improve our regional economy."
Town leaders of Greenfield are considering using a portion of ARP funds to reduce the cost of a municipal bond the town issued in May to pursue a municipal broadband network build-out.
Town leaders of Lyndeborough are considering using a portion of ARP funds to expand access to broadband Internet. Roughly 40 percent of Lyndeborough residents currently do not have high-speed Internet access.
Grafton County officials are considering using $10 million of the county’s $17.4 million in ARP funds to construct a 353-mile-long middle mile network, if the county is not awarded a $26.2 million NTIA grant for the project.
Hoboken will use $150,000 to improve Wi-Fi and wireline connectivity to and throughout Hoboken Housing Authority locations "to help combat social inequities and facilitate remote learning or work for residents."
Trenton's most recent plan contributes $1 million to extend or upgrade broadband connectivity at community anchor institutions like its senior centers and recreation facilities.
Bernalillo County Commissioners will allocate $10 million of the county’s $131.9 million in Rescue Plan relief funds to back fiber and broadband expansion projects in “the East Mountains and on Albuquerque’s far West Side along the Atrisco Vista Boulevard corridor,” reports the Albuquerque Journal.
Elmira is putting $4.9 million in funds towards water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, the latter of which includes working "with the Elmira school district and other entities to upgrade broadband in areas where connectivity is lacking."
The Chautauqua County Legislature approved a plan to allocate $2.5 million of the county’s $24.6 million in ARP funds to provide broadband to unserved or underserved residents.
Orleans and Niagara Counties have approved separate contracts with RTO Wireless to subsidize the construction of new wireless infrastructure, with RTO owning and operating the network thereafter and the city having no influence over costs, level of service, or reliability. Service is expected to go live in the first half of 2022. Niagara County agreed to contribute $4.3 million, and Orleans $3.6 million. It remains unclear how much of either comes directly out of those counties' Rescue Plan funds.
Chemung County officials have proposed spending $1 million of $16 million in relief funds slated for the county for a municipal broadband build-out.
The Jamestown City Council is considering using $3 million of the $28 million in ARP relief funds the city is set to receive to build out citywide fiber infrastructure over the next three years, utilizing the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities’ existing fiber ring. The city is currently working with EntryPoint Networks on a feasibility study to estimate the overall cost of the project, as well as surveying residential interest in building a municipally owned open access broadband network in Jamestown.
Beaufort County Commissioners approved a plan to spend $4 million of the county’s $9 million in federal aid to begin negotiations with RiverStreet Networks to expand wireless broadband infrastructure in underserved areas of the county. It is not clear whether the network infrastructure would be owned by RiverStreet Networks or the county at this time.
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners have unanimously voted to spend $7 million of $11 million in ARP funds slated for the county to extend fiber Internet access to underserved parts of the county.
Cumberland County is considering how to use $65 million in funds, with broadband infrastructure at the top of the list for many County Commissioners. It wants community feedback.
The Cleveland City Council earmarked $20 million of the city’s $511 million in American Rescue Plan relief funds toward citywide broadband expansion. In response to a public survey launched by city leaders of Cleveland seeking feedback from city residents on how to spend $511 million in relief funds, the majority of participants proposed using the funds to address the digital divide by expanding fiber broadband options and subsidizing the cost of Internet access.
The Clark County Board of Commissioners have committed $2.2 million of the county’s $26 million in ARP relief funds toward a fiber expansion project that will boost connectivity among county government buildings.
Coshocton County Commissioners allocated $5 million of the county’s $7.1 million in ARP funds toward a project in partnership with local ISP Ohio TT, which will provide broadband services to rural residents.
Athens County Commissioners earmarked $250,000 of the county’s $19.5 million in ARP funds for a possible broadband expansion project in Amesville.
Richland County Commissioners have pledged $2 million of the county’s $23.4 million share of federal American Rescue Plan funds to expand broadband Internet service in the county.
Greene County Commissioners are considering using a portion of $32 million in ARP funds to expand Internet access to residents who are currently underserved. The county is currently seeking a public or private partner to assess broadband availability and design a plan to extend a network to underserved regions of the county.
Butler County Commissioners are considering using a portion of the county’s $75 million in ARP funds to finance a $4 million plan to expand high-speed Internet access to 2,700 rural premises, proposed by the Butler Rural Electric Cooperative.
Mayor of Athens Steve Patterson told the Athens Messenger the city hopes to use roughly one-fifth of its $2.5 million in ARP funding to connect city buildings to broadband. Patterson said he hopes to use another large chunk of the city’s ARP dollars to convert the Athens Armory at the end of Court Street into a remote work space that anyone could use. Another goal of his is to provide free Wi-Fi on Court Street and West Washington Street. Currently, Patterson said the city is operating off of an aging microwave Internet system that causes problems for the city.
Ames Township Trustee Lyle Fuller said while the township’s plans are far from final, the goal is to bring high-speed Internet to the township with the $108,000 in ARP funds they received, reports the Athens Messenger.
A committee of Oklahoma State Legislators has been formed to decide how to allocate the $1.9 billion in federal relief headed to the state. Co-chair of the committee, State Senator Roger Thompson (R-Okemah), has announced that he wants to concentrate the funds toward expanding access to broadband. The committee is currently building a portal to receive resident feedback on how to allocate the funding. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Municipal League is urging Oklahoma’s 77 counties to allocate portions of $768 million in ARP relief being received toward broadband expansion, as many cities across the state will have to prioritize spending ARP funds on needs such as water and wastewater infrastructure.
Eugene has allocated $150,000 for an unspecified broadband expansion project, intended to "evaluate and plan out broadband needs and expansion for the community and prepare the city to seek state, federal and private funding to complete the expansion."
Salem-area lawmakers have expressed significant interest in using Rescue Plan funds for local Internet access projects, including $1.7 million for a wireless project in Polk County, $2.3 million for Yamhill County, and $1 million for emergency firefighting facilities near Silverton.
Clackamas County Commissioners allocated $2.5 million to build new fiber to rural and unserved areas, which will enable nearby providers to offer new service to those homes and businesses.
The York County Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 to allocate $25 million of $87 million in ARP funding to build a middle-mile fiber network, as recommended by the York County Fiber Optic Task Force. The task force recommended the county construct an open access, middle mile network with seven rings, which can be utilized by multiple ISPs to provide fiber Internet service to residents and businesses.
Centre County officials allocated $175,000 of the county’s $31.5 million in Rescue Plan funds toward a consulting contract with CTC Technology and Energy to develop a strategic plan to expand broadband access in the county.
Allentown city officials are considering using $7 million of the city’s $57 million in American Rescue Plan funds to launching a city-owned broadband network, to ultimately make high-speed fiber Internet service available throughout Allentown and at a subsidized price or free for low-income residents. The city is partnering with Allentown-based software company Iota Communications to conduct a feasibility study for the project.
Perry County Commissioners are considering allocating $9 million of relief funds toward expanding access to broadband in underserved areas of the county over the next two years. Earlier this year, the county issued an RFP seeking bids from broadband providers. The county received three responses from ISPs proposing a range of options. County Commissioners have yet to select which provider they will work with.
Providence will spend $1 million on broadband infrastructure, though there are no further details at this time.
The state, pushed by a coalition of economic development, agriculture, and business leaders, is considering spending $400 million of its Rescue Plan funds to invest in new fiber infrastructure and incent an additional $200 million in private investment to increase Internet access.
The state has decided to devote $500 million in Rescue Plan funds to a broadband expansion program to which "local counties and providers are able to apply" with preference given to "distressed and at-risk counties." As it stands now, the state’s Financial Stimulus Accountability Group recommends a two-phased approach in providing $400 million in grants for “unserved locations” with Phase 1 applications due in the Fall of 2021 and grant awards allocated by Spring 2022. Funding priority would be given to projects proposed for “distressed and at-risk counties and projects which have a local match committed,” as well as projects that could be completed within two years. The remaining $100 million to be used to fund three specific types of broadband adoption initiatives: $50 million for a residential service subsidy, $44 million to connect community anchor institutions, and $2 million for a free public Wi-Fi project in the downtown business districts of metro areas. There is also some discussion of new legislation aimed at Tennessee's preemption law to facilitate expansion.
The Carter County Budget Committee has voted unanimously to recommend spending $2.5 million to help expand infrastructure to the most remote parts of the county and leverage those funds to go after additional state funding. The money would be used as a 30 percent match to make the bid more competitive for state grants, according to the Johnson City Press.
The mayor's office in Memphis originally pushed to spend $25 million of the city's $161 million on expanding broadband access, but recent reports suggest that the City Council, which holds budgeting power, is instead focused on other projects.
The city of Brownsville Commission has approved a plan to use $19.5 million of $65 million in ARP funds to construct a 95-mile public middle-mile fiber network.
City leaders of Victoria have allocated a portion of $14.5 million in ARP funds toward conducting a feasibility study to understand ways the city can improve broadband access. City leaders recognize that improving broadband access is important to Victoria residents and have designated it as one of five main community spending needs. City leaders are seeking input from the community on how to spend incoming funds.
The Lake Cities (Corinth, Lake Dallas, and the Towns of Hickory Creek and Shady Shores) have put out an RFI in search of a private provider to develop a partnership to improve broadband access in the region in two ways. First, in the development of a fiber ring to connect government buildings and operations to improve capacity and lower prices (either via joint-trenching or by building and leasing back to the local government). And second, to facilitate the development of a last-mile FTTH network to improve connectivity for residences. The interlocal agreement cites speed and reliability concerns by residents from the incumbent providers, which include Lumen (formerly CenturyLink) and Charter Spectrum. The Lake Cities have committed $4 million in Rescue Plan funds so far.
Harlingen city officials have approved allocating $4 million of the city’s $21 million in Rescue Plan relief funds toward a project to expand high-speed Internet access to all currently unserved city homes. City commissioners recently agreed to contract with Houston-based Cobb Fendley & Associates to conduct a $100,000 feasibility study. The Harlingen school district will fund half the cost of the study.
The Texas State Legislature is considering passing Senate Bill 8, which would allocate $500 million of the state’s $41 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to the comptroller’s office for broadband infrastructure, including $75 million to the state’s broadband pole replacement program.
San Marcos, though recently voting to pursue partnerships instead of commit to a municipal network using its existing I-Net, is considering using some of its funds to subsidize Internet access for low-income households.
Brown County Commissioners are considering allocating $500,000 of $7 million in relief funds toward building fiber infrastructure to improve communication at Bangs and Early school districts.
Amarillo, Texas is currently considering building a free, private 4G network to allow citizens and students to access "education, healthcare, and city services." Among proposals for Rescue Plans funds are to put money towards this initiative, called Connected Amarillo.
Dallas City Manager T.C. Boradnax has proposed using $43 million of the city's $355 million to close the digital divide. Recommendations from consulting firm CTC Technology and Energy include expanding the city's private cellular network, working with the school district, or building a municipal network.
Weber County has named new broadband infrastructure as one of a handful of directions it may go with part of its $14 million, though it continues to solicit input from cities and nonprofits.
In May, state lawmakers reached a deal to spend $150 million of the state’s Rescue Plan funds on broadband expansion. As VTDigger reported when the deal was struck, the legislation makes “communication union districts a centerpiece of the state’s efforts to extend fiber networks to rural areas that lack adequate Internet service,” though the bill does allow for small Internet Service Providers (providers who operate in no more than five state counties) to receive funding if they commit to building out service to all addresses where they propose to serve. In addition, $3.2 million has been set aside for digital inclusion efforts, including a subsidy for monthly access.
Officials in the town of Monroe are considering using roughly $34,000 of incoming relief funds to complete a last-mile broadband project connecting all residents to high-speed Internet.
Grafton County Commissioners are considering using $250,000 of the county’s $17.4 million in federal ARP funds to expand Internet access by connecting towns and cities to a proposed 350-mile fiber Internet network.
State Governor Ralph Northam and the Virginia State Legislature have agreed to devote $700 million of $4.3 billion in federal aid the state is receiving to broadband expansion. The funds will be distributed through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI), which distributes grants to ISPs who partner with government entities to apply for the funds. While publicly owned entities will be eligible to receive funds, most of the grants are expected to go to private providers.
The Suffolk City Council has approved a plan to spend $8 million in ARP relief funds to improve Internet access throughout the city. Of the $8 million, $5 million will go toward the first phase of a regional project constructing a public middle-mile fiber ring, and $3 million will go toward last-mile expansion projects.
The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to use $2.1 million of the county’s $4.4 million in American Rescue Plan funds as a match for a VATI grant. The goal of the county’s project is to make fiber infrastructure accessible to all homes in Prince Edward County, as well as some premises in Lunenburg and Cumberland that are part of the project area.
Franklin County is moving forward on two projects to bring fiber and some wireless access to as many as 5,000 locations, working with Shentel as well as River Street Networks. It will invest $7.7 million of its Rescue Plan funds to do so, pairing it with $11 million in private funding.
Loudoun County Board of Supervisors allocated $12.4 million of the county’s $80.3 million in American Rescue Plan funds toward a $71.9 million dollar broadband expansion project. The county, in partnership with two companies, hopes to run fiber optic cable along existing power lines, expanding broadband access to unserved and underserved areas of the county. The county has also applied for VATI grants to fund the project.
Cumberland County Board of Supervisors have agreed to commit up to $200,000 of the county’s $1.9 million in Rescue Plan funds toward a broadband project in partnership with Kinex Telecom, Inc. Cumberland County is expected to make a match contribution totaling $1.2 million. The funding for the project, which will span three counties, includes: $9.9 million in FCC grants already awarded to Kinex, a $6 million SBA 15-year loan already approved for Kinex, $6.3 million in project funding from Kinex, a $15 million VATI grant if awarded, and matching contributions from the three counties.
Gloucester County Board of Supervisors approved using $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to expand high-speed Internet access to unserved homes and businesses.
Hanover County Board of Supervisors allotted $16.9 million of the county’s $20.1 million in relief funds to extend broadband infrastructure to all county residents who are currently underserved. Whether the county pursues the project is contingent on the success of a Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) grant application.
The Accomack County Board of Supervisors is considering allocating $1 to 5 million of ARP funds for local broadband expansion. County Supervisors plan to request that A&N Electric Cooperative and the Eastern Shore Broadband Authority put together plans detailing how the potential funding could be utilized. During a public hearing conducted by the Board in June, 10 out of 24 speakers cited broadband access as the top issue they wanted addressed with relief funds.
The Bedford Town Council and the County are considering partnering to contribute as much as $14.8 million to bring universal broadband access to the region. The county broadband initaitive is currently in negotiatives with ISPs.
Amherst County officials have targeted $2 million of the county’s $6.1 million in relief funds toward ongoing broadband expansion efforts.
Fauquier County Supervisors are considering using $10.5 million in ARP funds toward a recently approved $64 million project to make fiber Internet service available to the county’s underserved areas. Whether the county pursues the project is contingent on the success of a $15 million state grant application.
Montgomery County Board of Supervisors is considering using $7 million of the county’s $19.1 million in Rescue Plan funds to provide a match to begin a $54 million broadband expansion project, in partnership with Gigabeam and Appalachian Power Co. The county anticipates an estimated $25 million from the VATI grant.
Gov. Jay Inslee and the state legislature have allocated $260 million of Washington’s Rescue Plan funds to provide grants for broadband infrastructure projects. While the bulk of that money is aimed at expanding broadband deployment, $5 million is set aside for “broadband equity and affordability grants,” according to the legislative language. Eligible applicants for the large pot of money include: local governments; ports; public utility districts; federally-recognized tribes; nonprofit organizations; nonprofit cooperative organizations; and “multiparty entities comprised of a combination of public entity members or private entity members.”
The Lewis County Commission allocated $500,000 in relief funds for broadband projects. The Lewis County Public Utility District (PUD) is currently undertaking an ambitious $130 million project to build a countywide fiber-to-the-home network. In May, the PUD asked County Commissioners for an allocation of $1 million in ARP funds for the project; the PUD is expected to issue a formal request to the county to allocate additional funding for broadband.
The city of Anacortes is requesting $9.8 million to expand its citywide fiber-to-the-home network. Getting the funds would allow the city, according to City Administrative Services Director Emily Schuh, to speed up construction by as much as a year.
The Marion County Commission is considering how to spend $10.8 million in federal relief funds headed its way, and extending broadband infrastructure is a top priority for many County Commissioners. While the County Commission has not officially designated which projects it will fund, Commissioners are focused on extending broadband to county residents who currently lack reliable Internet access.
The state of Wisconsin announced in May an infusion of $100 million in funding from its Rescue Plan allocation to go to broadband projects via the state's Public Service Commission. Applications for the first round were due at the end of July. This is in addition to the proposed biennial budget, which would include another $152 million in state funding for broadband. Community broadband advocates can celebrate the fact that funding priority will be given to proposed broadband networks “owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and co-operatives.”
The Oconto County Board approved a plan to spend $3.25 million of $7.4 million in federal ARP funds to improve broadband access throughout the county. The broadband funding is going to various projects, detailed here.
The Eua Claire County Borad has approved a plan to spend $2.8 million on broadband expansion in rural areas. With a population of 105,000, the eastern half of the county especially suffers from a lack of hi-speed, reliable coverage.
Sauk County has allocated $1 million of its $12.4 million towards broadband expansion in the least connected, northwest parts of the county, and is partnering with LaValle Telephone Cooperative with emphasis placed on the homes of students who have struggled to stay online over the last year. Local leaders will use the Rescue Plans to bolster their application for additional funds from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for the project.
Appleton city officials have allocated $2 million of the city’s $14.9 million in ARP funds to expand broadband infrastructure to connect the new Appleton Public Library with high-speed Internet access.
The Superior City Council has approved a $31 million proposal to build a city owned fiber network, which Mayor Jim Paine is considering budgeting $10 million in federal relief funds for. The city council would have to approve the $10 million allocation. The proposed network would be open access, and therefore, it would be utilized by multiple ISPs to provide residential Internet service.