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Rural Broadband Capacity Pilot Program

Business Oregon is pleased to announce a new pilot program to assist with planning for and deployment of broadband projects targeting rural and underserved populations.

About the Program

The Governor's Office has approved funding of $500,000 for grant(s) to support broadband planning, engineering, and/or infrastructure deployment projects targeting rural areas lacking adequate broadband access. These are areas that do not have broadband service available at the current FCC designation of 25 million bits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream, excluding satellite service.

The program places particular emphasis on investments that assist communities, businesses, or industries in cost-effective projects that impact retention and growth of significant traded sector industries in Oregon.

Eligible Projects/Use

A grant may be used for the following:

  • Planning—For projects to organize and engage rural community stakeholders to develop broadband strategic plans for the deployment, adoption, and utilization of broadband infrastructure in their respective communities.
  • Engineering—For projects that have completed plans, a grant may be used for the design and engineering of broadband infrastructure.
  • Infrastructure—For projects that have completed plans and engineering designs, a grant may be used for the construction of broadband infrastructure.
  • Matching Funds—A grant also may be used as matching funds to enable recipients to qualify for grants and loans from federal and private foundation funding programs for broadband planning, engineering, and infrastructure deployment projects.

Who Can Apply

Oregon cities, counties, ports, tribes, cooperatives, non-profit corporations, and public-private partnerships that wish to pursue broadband capacity improvement projects for their community may apply.

Applicants should establish that:

  1. Broadband services delivering the current Federal Communications Commission benchmark of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream are not available nor planned to be available to residences and businesses in the community.
  2. The applicant is a city, county, port, tribe, cooperative, non-profit corporation, or public-private partnership.
  3. The area to be served by the project is rural, an area located entirely outside of the acknowledged Portland Metropolitan Area Regional Urban Growth Boundary, and the acknowledged urban growth boundaries of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. [ORS 285A.010 (14)]
  4. The applicant can engage key stakeholders (members of the community representing areas such as business, education, healthcare, government, and service providers) and that there is demonstrable community motivation and enthusiasm to participate in the project and to meet the project schedule and timelines.

Timeline

The projected timeframes for this pilot program are:

  • Request for Applications for Funding issued January 12, 2018
  • Applications due by February 21, 2018
  • Award offers made by March 15, 2018

Funding offers will be contingent upon successful completion of the application process and negotiation of contractual terms between Business Oregon and applicant.

How to Apply

Complete the Application for Funding Form.

Applications are due by February 21, 2018, at 4:00 pm. All applications should be submitted electronically via e-mail as an Adobe Acrobat PDF attachment to: Christopher Tamarin, Business Oregon, 121 SW Salmon Street, Suite 205, Portland, Oregon 97204, phone 503 508-0178.