‘Connect America’ Funds Expanded to Local Government and Other Entities

Cities interested in applying for funds should file an expression of interest by March 7.
(Published Feb 24, 2014)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided in January to make “Connect America” Funds available to entities other than large incumbents, including municipal governments, tribal governments, nonprofits, and cooperatives that are in experimental processes.

In the order outlining this change, the FCC calls for pilot projects to examine how best to make the technology transition from older circuit-switched based networks to Internet protocol-based networks, while preserving consumer welfare and promoting the widespread deployment and use of broadband networks.

Any interested entity must file an expression of interest that describes how it would invest the funds. The deadline for submissions is March 7.

View an FCC document with some guidance on what to include in your expression of interest (pdf) (see page 38, paragraph 105)

Here are a few additional expression of interest tips gathered by organizations tracking the issue:

  • Make your expression of interest comprehensive, but brief—the letter can be a few pages.
  • Expressions of interest are not necessary to be part of the process later, but it helps organizations get on the FCC’s radar.
  • One of the purposes of the expressions of interest is to help the FCC determine how much, where, why, and how the money is needed and used.
  • The FCC does not expect projects to be “shovel ready.”

The Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council will host a webinar on Feb 25 titled “Getting Next Generation Broadband Networks to Rural America” that will provide more tips for writing an expression of interest. The organization also has a recording of a previous webinar on this topic called Expanding Rural FTTH: The FCC's Proposed Experiments.

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