Appalachia Digital Equity Accelerator Grants

Much of the Appalachian region lacks the digital infrastructure it needs, holding back families, businesses, and progress. To accelerate broadband access across the region, Connect Humanity has partnered with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to work with 50 of Appalachia’s least-connected communities, preparing them to build next-generation broadband networks.

These communities will receive a Connect Humanity Digital Equity Planning Grant to create a holistic plan for achieving their digital equity goals. Together, we will identify the community’s digital needs and create a roadmap to meeting them. The networks, device access, and digital literacy training program plans that result will be a critical step toward ensuring communities have the reliable, affordable connectivity they need, spurring new opportunities, economic development, and healthier communities.

These plans will also prepare communities to apply for some of the $45 billion+ Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) and the Digital Equity Act (DEA) funding that the government has made available to invest in broadband for unserved and underserved communities, as part of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA). Whether or not communities ultimately decide to pursue BEAD and DEA funds, we are committed to working to secure the funding needed to get the internet families need.

Photo of road running through the Blue Ridge Mountains

Get support

We will help you connect with industry expertise and networks that can support your mission.

Create a broadband plan

We will take you through the steps necessary to create a build-ready plan for a sustainable broadband network.

Be investment-ready

Your broadband plan will prepare you to apply for BEAD, DEA, and other government and non-government broadband investments.

Who can apply

We welcome applications from those who have identified a need and have the motivation and capacity to make a project work. In practice this means you’ll have:

  1. A clear idea of the geographic area you aim to connect.
  2. An entity or group to lead the planning process, receive project funds, and take responsibility for the implementation of the build.
  3. Support from the community you aim to connect, with community members represented in the project team.
  4. Local political support for community-led efforts to improve broadband connectivity.

The project is open to applicants covering: Appalachian communities in Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

To learn more about who should apply and how the project works, read our FAQs.

How to apply

To apply to take part in the program, please complete a readiness assessment so we can understand where you are on your journey to digital equity (here are the questions we ask in that assessment). If we think we can provide the support you need, we’ll invite you to move forward with the following steps:

  1. Conversation with our team
  2. Full application
  3. Both sides decide whether to continue
  4. Identify technical consultants
  5. Project kicks-off
  6. Project completed

 

We expect the project will be a 4-6 month process, from application to completion. Once you have your plan, we’ll continue to support you to secure funding to build your broadband network.

Get started

Questions?

To find out more about this program, email grants@connecthumanity.fund

A project in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

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