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Jun 07, 2024
4 min

Trying To Make Sense of Broadband Funding Options? Broadband Academy Is Here To Help

Sunset view of capitol building across a lake

Becoming a broadband service provider (BSP) is an expensive undertaking. Everything requires some upfront expense—from designing and building the physical infrastructure to the initial deployment and ongoing service. 

In the past, capital for broadband services flowed from existing BSPs, who would periodically invest some of their profits into new network projects. 

Funding is quite different now. Due to unprecedented levels of federal, state, and local funding, as well as private investment, more providers and communities can bridge the digital divide. 

With new funding sources comes new challenges—and many BSPs need help navigating the funding landscape and filling out applications. The Broadband Academy Funding For Broadband Services course outlines five key learnings for you to follow during the funding process. Combined with the fundamentals we covered in the first course, you’ll be one step closer to building a thriving broadband business.

  1. Understand different funding types and see what you’re eligible for.  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 the needs of your community, the competitive landscape, network technology options, and the financial business case. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 

  4. 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.

  5. 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 tribes 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.  


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