OLYMPIA – The Washington State Public Works Board has begun accepting applications for feasibility and outreach grants. Funding will support public outreach and engagement activities that establish and galvanize community-based efforts to bring critical broadband infrastructure to unserved areas around the state. Community-based efforts, such as Broadband Action Teams, are essential to ensure that community needs are met in planning for broadband expansion.
The application cycle will be open between Feb. 14 and midnight March 20, 2020. Cities, towns, counties, public port districts, public utility districts, other special purpose districts, quasi-municipal corporations, tribes, nonprofit organizations, cooperative associations, limited liability corporations organized for the purpose of expanding broadband access, and incorporated businesses or partnerships are eligible to apply.
Approximately $50,000 is available for these feasibility and outreach grants. The maximum award per applicant is $10,000, with a 10% match requirement. Funding awards are based on a competitive ranking process. Depending on the number and qualifications of applicants in this round, there is no guarantee funds will be available for future feasibility and outreach grant cycles.
Public Works Board Chair Scott Hutsell views this cycle as a win for communities across the state.
“This will be our second grant cycle of the year, and we feel fortunate to be able to focus on community-specific needs,” Hutsell said. “When our construction grant/loan program completes rulemaking, we will be able to address all aspects of a community’s broadband buildout process from conception to planning and design to implementation. The state’s continued support for the program is recognized and appreciated as we continue to move toward affordable broadband access for all Washingtonians.”
Rating and ranking for applications will begin immediately after the cycle closes, and awards are expected in April 2020.
Visit the Public Works Board broadband financing webpage for more information, and to complete the online application. For additional questions, please contact Shelley Westall at 360-725-3162 or Shelley.Westall@commerce.wa.gov