SBO Funding, Programs and Services

Infrastructure Funding

Infrastructure Acceleration Grants Round Two

We’d like to provide an update on the timeline for the Infrastructure Acceleration Grant (IAG) 2022 / ARPA – Notification of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). While we originally targeted the NOFO for mid-June, we are pausing the release. Without having exact dates available, we anticipate the NOFO will be published in the fall, with award announcements expected in the first quarter of 2023.

What we’re doing now

The Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO) plans to use the time between now and the NOFO release in the fall to receive critical stakeholder engagement on a set of policy and procedure questions that are critical to the work we’re all doing.

Within the next few weeks, WSBO will send a list of questions for your consideration; we’d like to receive your written comments to inform how we move forward. Using your input, WSBO will create draft recommendations for each issue that we will then invite you to discuss with us in a roundtable event early this fall.

From the roundtable, we will develop final outcomes, including policy recommendations and/or process changes. We intend to have this step completed by mid-October, in time for integration into the upcoming NOFO.

This schedule is not yet finalized, however, we’ll send calendar holds and additional information as available. We believe using this time to get stakeholder feedback and to create collaborative outcomes will strengthen this NOFO process and create even greater transparency around our work.

How we’re communicating

Our goal is to be as communicative as possible about timelines and our stakeholder engagement process. With this message to potential applicants and partners, we’re hoping to have reached the majority of parties who will want this update. Please let us know if you believe we’ve missed communicating with a segment of our intended audience.

We appreciate your patience.

The State Broadband Office finalized the list of projects that have been selected for funding in our first round of Infrastructure Acceleration Grants. A second round of funding will become available later this spring.

NTIA Broadband Program

The WSBO is one of 13 projects awarded funding from the NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program. Washington will receive $30 million for last-mile fiber and last-mile wireless projects that aim to overcome barriers to broadband access and connectivity in five rural counties of the state: Ferry, Jefferson, Kittitas, Okanogan and Stevens, serving an estimated 7,196 unserved households. These counties were selected following through a 2019 assessment – part of our collaborative work between WSBO, Public Works Board and CERB to provide universal high-speed internet access throughout the state by 2024.

Additional Resources

State Broadband Matching Grants

The WSBO has matching grants available for federal broadband infrastructure financing opportunities. Matching fund applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis for local partners applying for federal broadband infrastructure funding (grants or loans). Match grant awards will be committed on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants whose projects are strong candidates for the federal funding opportunity sought. Match awards may not exceed $5 million or 25% of the federal grant amount sought, whichever is less.

Eligible applicants include local governments, federally recognized Tribes, nonprofit organizations and nonprofit cooperative organizations, and public-private partnerships.

Different Funders for Different Needs

The State Broadband Office, the Public Works Board, and the Community Revitalization Board all fund broadband projects. What’s the difference? Learn more about the different broadband funding opportunities.

Programs and Services

Affordable Connectivity Program

Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a new long-term $14 billion program that replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program in March 2022.

Households enrolled in the EBB Program as of 12/31/21 will be emailed information about how to re-enroll to the ACP program from their internet service provider. New households wanting to enroll can find a list of participating service providers on the FCC webpage

  • The maximum monthly benefit changed from $50 per month to $30 per month for households not located on qualifying Tribal lands. The monthly benefit remains at $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.
  • Households can qualify for the ACP in several ways:
    • Having an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
    • At least one person in the household receives benefits from one of the following federal assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental security Income, federal Public Housing Assistance (FHPA), or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit;
    • At least one person in the household is in the free and reduced price lunch program or the school breakfast program; or
    • At least one person in the household has received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year.

Lifeline Program

Lifeline is a federal program that provides a $9.25 monthly benefit for income-eligible subscribers on monthly telephone service, broadband service, or voice-broadband bundled services. Households on federally recognized Tribal lands can receive up to $25 per month in addition to the standard benefit of $9.25.

Households are eligible for Lifeline if:

  • The household income is 135% or less of the federal poverty guidelines;
  • If someone in the household participates in SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, FPHA, or the Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit; or
  • The household is on Tribal lands, meets income requirements, and someone in the household participates in any of the federal assistance programs listed above or other tribal assistance programs.

Check to see if you qualify for Lifeline program benefits.

Broadband Action Teams

Broadband Action Teams (BAT) are community-driven collaborations that identify the connectivity and accessibility needs for their communities. A BAT can help a community:

  • Centralize the broadband conversation and direct engagement to the State Broadband Office.
  • Assist statewide digital equity and inclusion efforts and represent community technology and accessibility needs.
  • Connect participants to collaborative project goals.
  • Bring early awareness of community projects to funding opportunities.

BAT List (Excel)

Please note that not all counties have an active Bat. Not seeing your BAT on this page? Please email devin.gombosky@commerce.wa.gov to have your group listed!

Services for Local Governments and Tribal Communities

The Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO) administers grants for connectivity services, broadband projects, Rapid Design Studies and Grant Writing services. WSBO partners with Tribal and Local Government Communities to assist with advancing broadband projects. To be eligible for these services, the communities should be a public entity such as a City, County, Port, Public Utility District (PUD), Town; or Tribe.

To get more information, or request these services, please contact Tammy Mastro at 360-791-2805 or Tammy.Mastro@Commerce.wa.gov.

Rapid Design Study

Rapid Design Study is a technical review that provides communities with project information including but not limited to:

  • Design analysis, up to 6 different designs, with different configurations of each project, Including 100% fixed Wireless, Various hybrid models, and 100% Fiber to the premise;
  • Cost projection;
  • Barriers for planned location(s);
  • Tribal lands in the project area;
  • Number of locations in project area unserved by wireline 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload; and
  • Follow up with the technical advisor for results of Rapid Design study.

Grant Writing

  • For Federal Funding only, services are only available for federal agency applications, services cannot be used to apply to state or local funding sources;
  • Grant writer will evaluate project and partner with the community to determine which funding source has the highest probability of success;
  • Partner to gather, edit, and prepare the documentation required for the specific Federal Funding;
  • Provide the Community with application narratives as needed; and
  • Support the Community to ensure a completed grant application package is submitted on-time.

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