Understanding Broadband Grants

by Ken Fellman, Of Council, Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, PA

Ken Fellman

As Americans have spent a significant amount of time on the internet during the pandemic, the federal government has created several programs addressing broadband deployment.  Here, we address two major Congressional initiatives that provide significant funding to expand broadband networks.  On March 11th, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which allocates funding to state, county, and municipal governments, and establishes that state and local governments receiving this funding may use it “to make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.”  As of this writing (August 12, 2021), the House will be considering the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by the Senate, which establishes a $42,450,000,000 grant program to states who in turn award subgrants to local governments and other entities for broadband and other infrastructure projects.