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Grants available for broadband expansion in rural communities

Thirty grants of up to $75,000 each are available to help rural Arkansas communities apply for federal grants and loans to make broadband accessible to their residents.

The “Rural Broadband I.D. Expenses Trust Fund Grant” is funded by the state’s Restricted Reserve Fund and federal coronavirus aid allocated by the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Steering Committee created by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The $2 million broadband program is managed by the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Visit this link to apply and for more information about the program.

“As COVID-19 changes the ways in which we work and learn remotely, high-quality data infrastructure is increasingly vital to our economy, access to health care, and overall quality of life,” said Joseph Sanford, M.D., interim director of the UAMS Institute for Digital Health & Innovation.

The grants are available to help cities, incorporated towns, counties and unincorporated communities conduct broadband due-diligence business studies. The studies are required in federal grant and loan applications for broadband infrastructure. Communities can use their broadband due-diligence business studies to apply for funding from:

  • The Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Program

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect)

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill; and

  • Other federal grants or loans for broadband development programs.

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