For all funding categories, the proposed funded service area must be in an area where 90% of the households do not have sufficient access to broadband. Applicants must propose to build a network capable of providing service to all premises in the proposed funded service area at a speed of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.
Applicants may request funding from one of the following categories.
Up to $200,000,000 is available for grants. The maximum amount that can be requested in an application is $25,000,000.
Applicants must provide a matching contribution equal to 25% of the cost of the overall project. The source of funds must be clearly identified. If matching funds are provided by a third party, a serious commitment from the third party must be submitted indicating that the funds will be available at the closing of the award if approved. The matching contribution can only be used for eligible purposes.
If an applicant receives a 100% grant award, the matching contribution must be expended first, followed by grant funds, except for approved pre-application expenses.
50% Loan / 50% Grant
Up to $200,000,000 is available for loan/grant combinations. The maximum amount that can be requested in an application is $25,000,000 for the loan and $25,000,000 for the grant. Loan and grant amounts will always be equal.
The interest rate for the 50% loan component will be set at the Treasury rate for the remaining amortization period at the time of each advance of funds. Applicants may propose substituting cash for the loan component at the time of application.
If an applicant receives a 50% loan / 50% grant award, all cash provided in lieu of loan funds must be expended first, followed by loan funds, and then by grant funds, except for approved pre-application expenses. Grant funds must be requested as part of the first advance request for the reimbursement of eligible pre-application expenses.
Up to $200,000,000 is available for loans. The maximum amount that can be requested in an application is $50,000,000.
The interest rate for a 100% loan will be set at a fixed 2%. Tangible equity to total assets must be at least 20% at the end of the calendar year starting in the third year of the forecast period through the remainder of the forecast period.