Five states snag $408M for broadband from Capital Projects Fund

The U.S. Treasury dished out its third helping of Capital Projects Fund awards, handing five states more than $400 million to expand broadband to more than 90,000 locations.

Indiana received the largest award, earning approval for $187 million to reach just over 50,300 homes and businesses with high-speed connections.  The money is set to be distributed through the Next Level Connections (NLC) Broadband Grant Program, which is targeted at service areas that lack access to speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps up.

Nebraska got $87.7 million to reach 21,000 locations via the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program (NBBP), while Arkansas secured $47.5 million to connect about 5,500 homes through its Arkansas Rural Connect (ARC) Program. North Dakota received $45 million to connect nearly 4,000 locations and Connecticut was approved for $40.8 million to cover 10,000 locations. The latter will distribute support through the forthcoming Connecticut Broadband Infrastructure Program.

Indiana’s NLC program has already completed three funding rounds, with one each in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Together, the three rounds have provided $268 million in support to the likes of AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast, Frontier Communications, Mediacom, and dozens of others to connect nearly 75,000 locations.

Meanwhile, NBBP last year doled out 61 grants totaling $19.2 million to 19 providers. An application window for an additional $20 million in funding closed on July 1. It is unclear whether the Capital Projects money will be added to the support available through the recently closed round or if it will be dished out in a new round.

Founded in 2019, ARC has already awarded more than $100 million to fuel broadband projects across Arkansas using a combination of state funding and money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) and American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Acts. In December 2021, the state sent a letter to ISPs noting ARC had expended all available funding, but would continue accepting applications for projects through January 15 and pursue additional funding through the Capital Projects Fund.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said in a press release the new Connecticut Broadband Infrastructure Program will dole out a total of $42.9 million for broadband and will focus on delivering symmetric speeds of at least 100 Mbps. The program is expected to launch in early 2023 and will be administered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy.

The Treasury’s latest Capital Projects Fund awards mark the third round of approvals issued to date. An initial round doled out a total of $582.8 million to Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia and West Virginia in June while a second tranche delivered a total of $356.9 million to Kansas, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota in July.

The $10 billion Capital Projects Fund was created as part of ARPA in 2021.