CERB Rural Broadband Program
CERB provides low-interest loan/grant packages to local governments and federally-recognized Indian tribes, financing the cost to build infrastructure to provide high-speed, open-access broadband service, to rural underserved communities, for the purpose of community economic development.
Rural Broadband Program Overview
CERB provides funding for construction and planning for broadband projects in rural counties and rural communities only.
The 2020 CERB Rural Broadband Program Legislative Report is now available for viewing.
Rural Broadband Planning Program
If your community is in need of rural broadband planning, CERB provides limited resources for planning studies.
For more information on our Planning Program, including the Broadband-specific Threshold Checklist and Minimum requirements, please see CERB’s web page.
Eligible projects are those that encourage, foster, develop, and improve broadband within the state in order to:
• Drive job creation, promote innovation, and expand markets for local businesses; or
• Serve the ongoing and growing needs of local education systems, health care systems, public safety systems, industries and businesses, governmental operations, and citizens; and
• Improve accessibility for underserved communities and populations.
Eligible Infrastructure and Minimum Speed Requirements
Including, but not limited to, for the purpose of broadband infrastructure:
|Cable Modem:||100 Mbps / 20 Mbps
|Fiber:||1 Gbps / 1 Gbps
|Wireless (fixed wireless, wifi):||50 Mbps / 10 Mbps
|4G Mobile Wireless:||25 Mbps / 5 Mbps
|Broadband over Powerlines (BPL):||100 Mbps / 100 Mbps
|Microwave:||100 Mbps / 20 Mbps
CERB may not finance projects which:
• Result in retail development
• Facilitate gambling
• Displace jobs from one part of the state to another
• Are outside the applicant’s jurisdiction
• Are for equipment which would enable a public entity to provide retail telecommunications services or services that the entity is not authorized by statute to provide.
• Are for the deployment of publicly-owned telecommunication network infrastructure (“backbone”) solely for the sake of creating competitive, publicly-owned telecommunication network infrastructure.
Eligible Applicants include:
• Cities and Towns
• Federally Recognized Indian Tribes
• Municipal Corporations
• Quasi-Municipal Corporations
• Public Port Districts
• Special Purpose Districts
CERB offers loans at $2 million maximum per project. Grants are available up to 50% of the total award, determined by the underwriting process and debt service coverage ratio (DSCR).
• Provide a cash match of 20% of the total project cost.
• Demonstrate feasibility with a supporting study.
Interest Rates: 1-3%
Term: Up to 20 years
Applications for all of CERB’s funding programs are considered on an ongoing basis. The Board meets every two months to consider projects and make funding decisions.
To see what the actual application looks like, download the
ZoomGrants Rural Broadband Application Overview (PDF)
Broadband Resources & Funding
Comprehensive Broadband Federal Funding Guide
Washington State Broadband Office
Public Works Board Broadband Financing
CERB-Public Works Board Partnership
USDA ReConnect Loan & Grant Program
USDA Community Connect Grants
USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grants
US Dept. of the Interior’s Joint Overview Established Location Map
FCC Interactive Map/ISP Finder
WSU Digital Initiatives
Strategic Networks Group
Do You Have a Project?
Potential applicants must contact staff to discuss their project, prior to receiving a link to the online application.