Grants

The State of California has several grant programs that support the State’s Broadband for All commitment.  Below is a summary of some of those most applicable to our region, as well as Federal grants that may be of interest.  We will be adding information on other broadband-related State and Federal grant programs in the near future.

NTIA Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program

The Federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and U.S. Territories.

The Governor of California designated the CPUC to serve as the recipient of and administering agent for the BEAD program for California, and designated the California Department of Technology (CDT) to serve as the recipient of and administering agent for the Digital Equity Plan.

Current BEAD Allocation Methodology uses topography, remoteness, population density and poverty to determine High-Cost areas.  Those areas designated as High-Cost areas are will be exempt from the BEAD matching funds requirement, and will also provide for a $75 Affordable Connectivity Program benefit for ACP-eligible households.  Our Inyo-Mono region has one Census Block Group that qualifies as a High-Cost area:  Census Block Group 060270008001, the southeastern area of Inyo County.

Additional BEAD Information and Resources:

CPUC Last-Mile Federal Funding Account

The CPUC Last-Mile Federal Funding Account (FFA) provides funding to Internet Service Providers to fund construction of last-mile infrastructure to deliver synchronous 100Mbps Internet service.  Grant requirements include a 5-year freeze on Internet service costs and offering pricing under the Federal Affordable Connectivity Plan.  The CPUC established a Broadband Grant Portal for the FFA grant application process.

The State has allocated $13,221,784.32 to fund FFA projects in Inyo County and $10,598,617.80 to fund FFA projects in Mono County.

CASF Broadband Infrastructure Account

The CASF Broadband Infrastructure Account currently offers grants annually to companies and agencies that are authorized by law to provide broadband Internet services for the purpose of deploying last-mile infrastructure to eligible locations.

CASF Line Extension Program

The CASF Line Extension Program allows an individual household or property owner to apply for an infrastructure grant to offset the costs of connecting a household or property to an existing or proposed facility-based broadband provider.

An “Eligible Applicant” is the customer residing at the location to be served, who qualifies for the California LifeLine or CARE Program’s qualifying income threshold. Applicants who are not enrolled in the CARE or LifeLine programs but have a household income equivalent to the CARE program’s income guidelines automatically meet the qualifying income threshold.

A representative, including a facilities-based broadband provider, may apply for service on behalf of an eligible applicant or a group of eligible applicants.

CASF Rural and Urban Broadband Consortia Grant

The CASF Broadband Consortia Account funding grants are available to facilitate the deployment of broadband services by assisting CASF infrastructure grant applicants in the project development or grant application process or assisting broadband deployment projects related to programs created under SB 156 and Assembly Bill (AB) 164.

The Eastern Sierra Council of Governments received a 3-year CASF Broadband Consortia Grant, which funds the activities listed in the Work Plan page of this website. 

Funding for this project has been provided in full or in part through a grant by the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account of the California Advanced Services Fund, a program administered by the California Public Utilities Commission.

CPUC Local Agency Technical Assistance Grant

The CPUC Local Agency Technical Assistance (LATA) grants provide reimbursement for Tribes and local agencies for pre-construction expenses that facilitate development of broadband network deployment projects to areas in need. Grants may be used to reimburse eligible costs such as environmental, feasibility, and engineering design studies or reports; needs assessments, market studies, broadband strategic plans, and business plans; forming a joint powers authority; and consultant and community-based organization services.  The resulting broadband infrastructure projects must be designed to reliably meet or exceed synchronous 100Mbps Internet service speeds.

Both Inyo County and Mono County were awarded LATA grants in the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

USDA Rural Development Broadband Technical Assistance Program

The purpose of USDA Broadband Technical Assistance (BTA) is to encourage the expansion of broadband services in rural areas by awarding cooperative agreement funding to eligible entities. This funding supports the delivery of technical assistance and training to rural communities in need of broadband and rural broadband providers.

The types of activities BTA funding supports include project planning and community engagement, financial sustainability, environmental compliance, construction planning and engineering, accessing federal resources, and data collection and reporting.

Both Inyo County and Mono County were awarded USDA BTA grants for last-mile network design.