The $145 million Gap Networks Grant Program will fund the deployment of broadband infrastructure in areas that currently lack broadband service. The Program aims to expand access and connectivity in unserved and underserved locations throughout the Commonwealth to bridge the digital divide. Specifically, the Program will fund the deployment of broadband infrastructure in those areas that currently lack access to sufficient broadband internet service, defined as service offering download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 20 Mbps.
While prior investment of public funds have substantially reduced the number of unserved and underserved locations remaining in the state, there are still pockets of locations throughout the state that lack access to reliable and affordable broadband service. This Program is intended to address those remaining gaps in broadband availability.
Projects funded through this Program must be designed to deliver broadband service that meets or exceeds 100 Mbps symmetrical speeds. Locations that will be covered through a binding funding commitment from other federal or state funding sources are not eligible for funding under this Program. Grant applicants are required to provide a minimum matching contribution of at least 20%, subject to limited waivers for certain municipally-owned broadband infrastructure projects.
This Program will score more favorably proposed projects in economically challenged areas, specifically Gateway Municipalities and those areas identified by HUD's Qualified Census Tract program. Furthermore, awardees will be required in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, that provide low-income consumers with subsidies on internet services.
Program solicitation and related documentation can be found here.