On April 14, 2020, Sam Graves [R-MO-6], Ranking Member for the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and John Katko [R-NY-24], Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, introduced H.R. 6491, “The Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility (E-BRIDGE)" Act.
The E-BRIDGE Act is designed to remove potential hurdles for broadband projects that seek grant funding from the Economic Development Agency (EDA).
Anything that simplifies the broadband funding process is good news, although the EDA’s grant funds – which award up to $3 million to eligible projects – are already available to qualifying entities today. The FY 2020 EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (PWEAA2020) Program detail published at Grants.gov notes that eligible applicants include, “Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education” – which includes non-profit Electric Membership Cooperatives.
PWEAA2020 was announced on October 18, 2019 and, per the announcement, “There are no submission deadlines under this opportunity. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the publication of a new PWEAA NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity).”
Under the current NOFO, the EDA seeks applicants from both rural and urban areas for, “(i)nvestments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works and EAA programs.” More details are available at Grants.gov as well as the EDA website.
FiberRise is committed to helping electric cooperatives design, fund, construct and operate sustainable Utility Grade Broadband networks for their members and surrounding communities.