Ensuring federal broadband investment reaches communities that need it most

Broadband has the potential to transform the future of work for rural areas by opening the door to inclusive opportunity and more equitable local economies. But the lack of access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet and digital skills has kept this transformation out of reach. Roughly one-third of residents in the rural and tribal areas we serve cannot access broadband, an inequity that restricts opportunities for work, education, healthcare, public services, and civic engagement. 

With historic levels of federal funding available to expand broadband access, we aim to help drive public investment to the communities that need it most but often face substantial barriers to leveraging these resources.

Available Support

Through grants and technical assistance offered on a rolling basis, we help communities identify, prepare, and apply for federal broadband funding.

Do you already have a project developed and are ready to apply for federal or state broadband funding?

We offer grants of up to $25,000 and technical assistance to help organizations identify which government grant program would be a good fit for their project and to develop competitive applications. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes, such as hiring a grant writer or to qualify as private matching funds. 

Are you still working to define and develop a broadband project and need more support before you’re ready to apply for federal or state funding?

We’re currently offering a limited number of grants up to $150,000 and technical assistance to help organizations build their capacity or conduct project planning and feasibility studies to increase their readiness to apply for federal or state broadband funding.

Eligibility

501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and select government entities serving coal communities are eligible to apply for grants and technical assistance. We prioritize proposals from frontline coal communities in the following states: KY, VA, WV, NC, PA, OH, IL, IN, MO, MN, WY, AZ, CO, MT, NM, and TX. If you work in a coal community outside one of these priority states, we still want to hear from you! Learn more about our priority areas. 

Recipients of broadband grants or technical assistance are invited to join our community of practice. Through ongoing open calls and relationship building, we support and connect communities with one another to facilitate peer learning, mentorship, and the sharing of best practices. Contact Natalie Roper at [email protected] if you aren’t sure whether you qualify for assistance.

Education & Resources

Broadband is often perceived as an overly complex issue best left to technical experts. But community and economic development organizations and local governments have essential roles to ensure people in rural areas have access to this critical infrastructure, can afford the service once it’s available, and have the necessary skills to use the internet to create opportunities in their community.

In addition to grants and technical assistance, we work with national experts to develop resources and host webinars so that community and economic development organizations in coal communities are aware of opportunities to get involved. Topics include upcoming federal funding opportunities, the role of community organizations in accurate broadband mapping, opportunities for comprehensive outreach about the Affordable Connectivity Program, workforce development, and digital skilling in rural areas.

Apply for Assistance

Tell us about your community broadband project.