A variety of grant and subsidy programs are available to assist with broadband expansion.
STATE & REGIONAL PROGRAMS
FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) subsidizes up to 60% of the cost to build new broadband infrastructure in unserved rural locations, with a preference for fiber-to-the-home.
FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund helps schools and libraries purchase existing internet services for their students/patrons (home connections, wi-fi hotspots, etc.) This money cannot be used to build new infrastructure unless a school or library can prove there are no adequate options available already.
FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit offers a discount of up to $50/month ($75/month on tribal lands) for low-income households to purchase broadband. Does not include any funding for building new infrastructure.
FCC Rural 5G Fund focuses on bringing 5G cellular service to rural locations that are unlikely to have coverage otherwise. Because 5G requires an extensive fiber optic network to function, this fund could create infrastructure with enough extra capacity to provide fiber-based internet to rural households.
The American Jobs Plan includes rural broadband as one of its core commitments. While details continue to evolve, this Biden Administration plan promises to be a significant source of funding to bridge the digital divide.
The American Rescue Plan Act includes two different programs that can be used for broadband expansion: the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Capital Projects Fund.
NTIA Infrastructure Grants are designed to create public-private partnerships to improve rural broadband. To be eligible, an internet provider must pair up with a state or local government entity.
USDA Infrastructure Grants are another potential source for rural broadband expansion subsidies; however, the application process is difficult, and awards include significant restrictions.