Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program for providers
There are many areas in this state where families do not have access to reliable high-speed Internet.
With the help of this grant program, internet providers are encouraged to invest in projects in unserved and underserved communities across the state. And this grant program helps to ensure that providers see the return on their investment. It is a priority of the DeWine-Husted Administration and legislators to connect Ohio households to essential broadband services, especially high-speed Internet.
House Bill 2 of the 134th General Assembly created the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program (the Program) and was signed into law on May 17, 2021. Additionally, House Bill 2 creates the Broadband Expansion Program Authority within Development, to receive and review applications from providers, and ultimately award these grants.
These grants will be awarded to internet service providers to fill the funding gap and fund the construction of broadband projects in unserved and underserved areas of the state.
Application submission period begins Sept 6. Program Q&A webinar is scheduled for Aug. 23 at 2 p.m. Webinar information and details will be coming soon.
A guide is available to help broadband providers (“providers”) understand the application process and requirements of the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant program (the “Grant program”). Applying for an Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant (“Broadband Grant”) is a process that includes both the Ohio Department of Development (“Development”) and the Broadband Expansion Program Authority (the “Authority”).
This grant program is housed in the Department of Development (Development) and the BroadbandOhio Office at the state. Applications will be accepted via the
- online, dedicated Broadband Expansion Grant application portal
- certified mail
- electronic mail
- in person
Round 1 Schedule: Summer/Fall 2021
- Application and Scoring Criteria Posted: Aug. 6
- Application submission period opens: Sept. 6
- Application Deadline: Nov. 8, by 5 p.m.
- Deadline to Refile an Incomplete Application 14 days after application deadline
- Application Challenge Deadline: Jan. 13, 2022, by 5 p.m.
- Deadline to Refile Suspended Application: 14 days after application suspended
- Application Review Period: Up to 30 days
- Award Announcement: Up to 30 days
Bridging the Funding Gap
The Residential Broadband Expansion Grant has been created to help Internet service providers with the cost of expanding into areas that lack service. The grants are designed to help with the infrastructure costs of the project and help build the networks that will otherwise serve Ohioans who currently cannot participate in the modern economy because of a lack of high-speed internet.
To that end, the grants will cover the “broadband funding gap,” which is the difference between the total amount of money a broadband provider calculates is necessary to construct the last mile of a specific broadband network and the total amount of money that the provider has determined is the maximum amount of money that is cost effective for the provider to invest in last mile construction for that network.
Stated differently, the broadband funding gap is the difference between the actual cost of building the infrastructure for the network and the amount of money the applicant can afford to spend to build the infrastructure for the network and still make a profit.
For example: a company estimates that it will cost $2 million to build a network out to a specific area but can only make a profit if it costs $1 million to build the network. In this example, the broadband funding gap would be $1 million, the difference between the amount needed to make the project profitable.
In general, an “eligible project” is a project to provide service access of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to residences in areas that do not have a provider that can supply that speed. Areas that have less than 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload are considered unserved, areas that have between 10 Mbps and 25 Mbps download and 1 Mbps and 3 Mbps upload are considered tier one areas.
For an eligible project, a Grant program application must include, at a minimum, several pieces of information regarding the proposed project. The projected start date for the project will be mutually agreed to between the Authority and the broadband provider. The entire project must be completed within two years of the projected start date.
For more information, reach out to Program Contact Amy Elbaor, Deputy Chief of Grants & Special Projects for the Office of BroadbandOhio, at 614-506-7332, or Amy.Elbaor@development.ohio.gov.