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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 2018 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 Planning Program page.

Eligible Activities

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

Ineligible Activities

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 Jurisdictions

Eligible Applicants include:
• Cities and Towns
• Counties
• Federally Recognized Indian Tribes
• Municipal Corporations
• Quasi-Municipal Corporations
• Public Port Districts
• Special Purpose Districts

Funding Availability

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).

Applicants must:
• Provide a cash match of 25% of the total project cost.
• Demonstrate feasibility with a supporting study.

Interest Rates: 1-3%
Term: Up to 20 years

Application Information

Program links

Resources

Do You Have a Project?

Potential applicants must contact staff to discuss their project, prior to receiving a link to the online application.

Need help?

Janea Delk
Executive Director & Tribal Liaison
Janea.Delk@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-725-3151

Leslie Wolff
Outreach Specialist
Leslie.Wolff@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-725-2777

Barbara Smith
Program Assistant
Barbara.Smith@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-725-3169

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