Broadband Funding

2023 ARPA Capital Projects Fund Grant

Under Section 604 of the Social Security Act, as added by Section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has established the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF). The purpose of the fund is to empower states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal Governments “to carry out critical capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).” Nebraska has been awarded $128,740,178 for the fulfillment of the goals established by the CPF, which includes administrative costs. More than $80 million was approved by the Department of Treasury for broadband grants in Nebraska Congressional Districts 1 and 3.

Broadband Equity Access & Deployment (BEAD)

Funded by Congress in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, BEAD provided $428 billion to states and territories for the deployment of high-speed Internet. BEAD prioritizes unserved locations that have no Internet access or access to speeds less than 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload.
Nebraska’s allocation of federal dollars will be determined in June 2023. The Nebraska Broadband office will administer the program in cooperation with the Public Service Commission and other state agencies. Oversight is provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a federal agency which is located within the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Nebraska’s five-year plan is due in August 2023, with Nebraska’s initial funding proposal due in late December 2023.

Lifeline/Nebraska Telephone Assistance Program

The Lifeline/Nebraska Telephone Assistance Program (NTAP) assists qualifying low-income individuals with keeping telephone services affordable by lowering monthly service rates.
Individuals can qualify for Lifeline/NTAP by participating in Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Pension Benefit/Survivors Pension Benefit, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or if household income is at or below 135 percent of the poverty level.

Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program (NBBP)

On May 26, 2021, the Governor signed the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act (the Act), LB 388, which created the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program to facilitate and fund the deployment of broadband networks in unserved and underserved areas. Grant funds shall only be used for development costs for a qualifying project. In order to qualify, the project is required to provide broadband Internet service scalable to one hundred megabits per second for downloading and one hundred megabits per second for uploading, or greater (100Mbps/100Mbps). Further, each applicant shall provide matching funds equal to fifty percent, or twenty-five percent in certain instances, of the total development costs of the project.

Nebraska Digital Equity Planning Grant Program

The State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program is one of three new broadband programs established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This program falls under the Digital Equity Act within IIJA and provides federal funding for states to develop their own State Digital Equity Plan. States interested in participating in the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program must first complete State Digital Equity Plans.

Nebraska has been allocated $598,746 to develop a state digital equity plan. The Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC)/Office of the CIO will be leading the planning effort with the assistance of the state’s regional economic development districts and the Nebraska Library Commission, among other stakeholder groups.

ReConnect Loan and Grant Program

The ReConnect Loan and Grant Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.