Becoming a broadband service provider (BSP) is an expensive undertaking—from designing and building the physical infrastructure to the initial deployment and ongoing service. Until recently, the main source of capital for new broadband services has typically come from existing BSPs, who would periodically invest some of their profits into expanding or building new networks. But now electric cooperatives, municipalities, and tribal governments are getting in the game thanks to unprecedented levels of federal, state, and local funding, as well as private investment, all aimed at bridging the digital divide.
In the Broadband Academy Funding For Broadband Services course, we help you navigate the broadband funding landscape and share tips to help you get through the application process successfully. The five key learnings below, combined with the fundamentals we covered in the first course, will bring you one step closer to building a thriving broadband business.
Understand funding types, and what you’re eligible for. Building a broadband business often requires a significant capital investment. The amount of funding you’ll need will depend on factors such as service location, the part of the network you’re building, the access technology you’re deploying, and your timeline. These will also determine the type of funding that’s right for you—government or private. We’ll explore your options, considering factors such as the needs of your community, the competitive landscape, network technology options, and the financial business case.
Learn the language of government funding. The broadband funding landscape is littered with acronyms—from infrastructure bills CAA, ARPA, and IIJA to existing and future funding programs such as RDOF, RUS, ARPA, and BEAD. The Broadband Academy Funding course will explain what these programs are and how to access the right funding sources at state and federal levels. Keep tabs on the $120 billion in broadband funding up for grabs between now and 2028 by visiting our funding alerts page.
Recognize the role of private investment. Government funding isn’t your only option. Savvy investors are increasingly recognizing the long-term value and relative low risk of financing broadband infrastructure projects. So, when should you consider private funding? We’ll discuss some of the common reasons for going this route, the pros and cons of loans, convertible debt, and private equity—and determine which private funding opportunity best fits your build-out strategy.
Create a strategy for pitching private investors. If you’ve decided to pursue private funding to finance part or all of your broadband build, you’ll need to win over potential investors. Why should they take a chance on your business? To help them understand your plan, goals, and needs, you’ll need to do your research and prepare key documents to generate interest in your project and secure meetings. We’ll go over each step, including how to negotiate terms of a potential investment agreement.
Know the dos and don’ts to increase your chances for success. Now that you have a grounding in the basics of government vs. private funding, we’ll walk you through some best practices to maximize your chances of receiving government funding for your broadband business. You’ll learn some common pitfalls to avoid, like limiting your funding search to grants or waiting to start your applications. And you’ll gain insights on how to strengthen your application, such as getting involved in your local community and demonstrating your community’s need for broadband funding.
While it may seem daunting, funding your new broadband business has never been easier. Record levels of capital are available to help you meet the soaring demand for broadband connectivity. Join other electric cooperatives, municipalities, and tribal governments building new broadband businesses to serve their communities now, and well into the future.
Get started with Broadband Academy—a complimentary educational resource designed to assist in your broadband journey. New to Calix? Register here and then Sign In. Existing Calix Customer? Login via My Calix.