Nebraska Gets Set to Award $20M in Rural Broadband Funding

Nebraska Gets Set to Award $20M in Rural Broadband Funding

Nebraska began accepting applications under the state’s Broadband Bridge program for $20 million in funding for a rural broadband program. Applicants can file and submit their interest by July 8.

The program is deployed to cover the broadband costs in areas without sufficient internet speeds.

The area has been divided into two categories: unserved areas, which lack 25/3 Mbps, and underserved areas, which currently lack 100/20 Mbps.

The program aims to provide internet service with a speed of at least 100 Mbps for both upload and download.

However, the program will cover up to 75% of the project costs for high-cost areas and up to 50% for other areas.

The rest of the funding is expected to arise from federal sources, the applicant, or another outside source.

Awards will be allocated based on the following points:

  • Financial capability: Up to 10 points for including a business plan detailing long-term network maintenance and financial projections.
  • Legal capability: 10 points for providing legal contact. Points are deducted for late-filed reports, remittances, or unaddressed legal challenges.
  • Technical capability:10 points if FCC data shows 100/100 Mbps service in Nebraska and 5 points if the public website offers 100/100 Mbps service.
  • Digital inclusion plan: 5 points if the plan offers discounted services to low-income subscribers and costs under $50 per month before discounts.
  • Rate Comparability: 5 points if rates are comparable or lower than other areas served.
    • 5 points if rates for 100/100 Mbps are at or below $65/month.
    • Deductions for long-term contracts, throttling, data caps, or early termination fees.
  • Speed Additive: Points awarded for offering speeds higher than 100/100 Mbps:
    • 500/500 Mbps: 5 points
    • 1,000/1,000 Mbps: 10 points
  • Match Source: 0 points for NUSF High Cost.
    • 5 points for federal broadband funds.
    • 10 points for the applicant’s own funds or in-kind contributions.
  • Match percentage: 1 point per percentage point up to 60% match.
  • Location density: 20 points for ≤10 locations/sq. mile
    • 12 points for >10 to <20 locations/sq. mile
    • 5 points for >20 to ≤42 locations/sq. mile
  • Eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) certification: 5 points if currently certified as NETC.
    • 3 points if filed for NETC certification.
    • 1 point if committing to file for NETC within 30 days.
  • Public-private partnership: up to 5 points: 5 points if a documented public/private partnership contributes at least 50% of matching funds. The non-public partner must be an ETC.

For more details on this funding round, check out the 2024 Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program guide.

Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program Overview

Nebraska Get Set to Award $20M in Rural Broadband Funding
Nebraska GetS Set to Award $20M in Rural Broadband Funding

The Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program was initiated by the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act to help expand broadband networks in areas of Nebraska that lack sufficient internet access.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission can provide funds to cover some installation costs for approved projects.

These projects must offer internet speeds of at least 100 Mbps for both downloading and uploading.

For the 2024 program, applicants need to provide matching funds covering at least 50% of the project costs if the area is not high-cost or at least 25% if the area is high-cost.

The grant awards will be announced on January 14, 2025.

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