Broadband Funding Programs
Broadband Funding Programs for Institutions and Communities

Connect America Fund (CAF) order is the FCC's first attempt at federal USF reform. The order and subsequent orders on reconsideration suggest that the State may need to consider acting on behalf of current rural broadband service providers to ensure that their services remain competitive, affordable, and equitable throughout the State.

ConnectED is a new initiative announced by the President in June 2013 to connect 99% of the schools with the speed they need in the next five years.  is structured to improve the skills of teachers, ensuring that every educator in America receives support and training to use technology to help improve student outcomes. The Department of Education will work with states and school districts to better use existing funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to strategically invest in this kind of professional development to help teachers keep pace with changing technological and professional demands. 

Community Connect Broadband Grant Program is a program to expand broadband connectivity to rural regions and was recently revised by the Department of Agriculture. The new regulations will streamline the grant application process, will help prioritize rural and needy areas and increase flexibility for using matching funds that grant applicants have to provide to sustain projects.

Distance Learning & Telemedicine (DTL) Grant Program is designed specifically to meet the educational and health care needs of rural America. Through loans, grants and loan/grant combinations, advanced telecommunications technologies provide enhanced learning and health care opportunities for rural residents.  Eligibility - Entities providing education and medical care via telecommunications including corporations or partnerships, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, state or local units of government, consortia, and private for-profit or not-for profit corporations. Individuals are not eligible.

E-Rate  is a federal program of the Federal Communications Commission, administered by the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company that provides eligible K-12 public schools and libraries 20% to 90% discounts on approved telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections costs.  E‐Rate is dependent upon universal service contributions from interstate ratepayers for the annually capped $2.27 billion dedicated to discounts for schools and libraries. As interstate revenues have decreased, the USF contribution factor has increased.

The Farm Bill Broadband Program has funded approximately 2800 communities with an average cost of $640,000 per community and gained more than 1 million subscribers as a result.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) also financed the same types of facilities and entities, which were funded under this Farm Bill program.

The Healthcare Connect Fund was established by the Federal Communications Commission to reform and modernize its universal service program for health care. The new Healthcare Connect Fund will help expand access by health care providers to the high-bandwidth connections they need for modern telemedicine.

Telecommunications Program provides discounts for telecommunications and Internet access services for eligible health care providers (HCPs).

Broadband Funding Programs for Citizens and Households

Connect2Compete is a national nonprofit organization bringing together leaders from communities, the private sector, and leading foundations. Through our programs and the power of technology, we will improve the lives of Americans - regardless of their age, race, geography, income, or education level. The use of technology to access educational content is necessary to ensure future generations can compete in the global economy and to prepare them for the 21st century workforce.

Connected Nation believes that states, communities, families, and individuals can realize great economic and social advantages when we accelerate broadband availability in underserved areas and increase broadband use in all areas, rural and urban, alike.

Computers For Youth leverages technology to enable:

  • Students to take charge of their learning.
  • Teachers to make learning more engaging within the classroom and to extend learning beyond the classroom and into the home.
  • Parents to become more powerful learning partners with their children and to enhance their home learning environment.

EveryoneOn is a three year, multi-media, bi-lingual Ad Council campaign on digital. The success of the program is measured by the longitudinal gains made around the correlated social outcomes for education, employment and financial independence, health, and civic engagement.

FreedomPop's mission is to deliver free, fast, wireless internet to all. FreedomPop offers customers 500MB of free high speed internet per month to help ensure that no American is left off the digital grid. Their high speed wireless internet service runs on Clearwire's 4G WiMax network. The service will expand to include Sprint's 4G LTE network in 2013.

Internet Essentials - Internet Essentials is a program offered by Comcast to qualifying  families.  The service is for $9.95/month to families who have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, who have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days and who do not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment. 

The Lifeline Broadband Program builds on the Connect to Compete initiative, a public-private partnership aimed at helping to close the broadband adoption gap that was launched by the Commission last year.  It currently offers up to a $10 subsidy for basic telephone service for low-income households, but it has yet to allow those households to use the subsidy just for broadband access. 

One Community is expanding high-speed broadband access and adoption to strengthen Northeast Ohio.

One Economy Corporation is a Washington, D.C. based, global, nonprofit organization that uses the power of technology to connect underserved, low-income communities around the world to vital online information and resources.

Public Libraries are also a great free resource to the public and are improving their broadband connections for public use. A number of public libraries are using grants from the federal government and other community and non-profit centers to offer free public WIFI and computers to their communities.  Visit your public library to find out. 

There are also municipal networks in some cities that are offering residents lower prices.