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Nov 07, 2023
3 min

Funding for Tribes: How To Determine Your Eligibility and Learn What’s Available

Broadband Services for Tribal Communities: Funding for Tribes and Common Eligibility Criteria

Broadband funding can be complicated. With so many programs available, many tribes don’t know where to start. That’s why we created a course just for tribes: Understanding Broadband Services for Tribal Communities. Available at no charge within Broadband Academy, you can enroll and access it at any time—giving you a leg up on learning about funding programs.

There are five main government funding programs available to tribes in the United States, plus the NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.

  1. Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)
  2. Rural Utility Service ReConnect (RUS)
  3. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
  4. Broadband Infrastructure (BIP)
  5. Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD)

With federal and state funding opportunities combined, a whopping $120 billion is available in funding to help your tribe with broadband access. Funding is awarded in phases and will take several years to be fully paid out. 

Common Eligibility Criteria for Broadband Funding

But how do you know if you qualify? In this Broadband Academy lesson, you’ll also learn common eligibility criteria for broadband funding. Understanding your eligibility is key to successfully applying for funding. There are several specific criteria, including where you’re located, the part of the network you’re planning to build, the technology you’ll deploy and what it can support, and how long you plan the deployment to take. 

It’s also good to know all of the initiatives that can be covered by funding, which may include more than you expected. Funding isn’t just for infrastructure. It can also be used on services, workforce development, and even telehealth initiatives. 

Many programs have multiple funding rounds—so it’s important to understand when and how to apply. With Broadband Academy, you can access our funding map to see what application rounds are open at any given time—and learn the four primary federal agencies that can help you navigate funding. 

Additionally, we’ll describe how to best use the FCC’s Broadband Map for tribal lands. There are several reasons why the map requires participation from tribes to help challenge location data, but this can be frustrating and time-consuming. We’ll help you understand how to work with the FCC to qualify for more funding. 

If you don't enroll in Broadband Academy, you’ll miss out on critical information on broadband funding options available to your tribe. Don’t make that mistake! Enrolling is easy, as covered in our blog post here, and Broadband Academy is offered at no cost—even if you’re not a customer. For more specific information and questions about Calix, you are always welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn or reach out personally by emailing claudia.tarbell@calix.com

Enroll in Broadband Academy today to access the lesson, "Funding for Tribes – Eligibility and Availability” as well as more lessons in our tribe-specific course.

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