Introducing our Build Better Broadband grantees
In the next few years, the US will see its biggest-ever investments to connect the 42 million Americans still living without access to the internet. To make sure President Biden’s $65 billion promise to close the digital divide is kept, this public money must flow to the communities that need it most.
To make this happen, communities must prepare now with robust broadband plans to maximize their chances of receiving these funds — plans they will need to advance digital equity, with or without the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. That’s why we provide Digital Equity Planning Grants as a core part of our work — and why we’re thrilled to announce the six grant recipients of our Build Better Broadband program.
Building Better Broadband
The Build Better Broadband (BBB) program was formed in partnership with EntryPoint and Biarri Networks to fund planning grants in diverse, low-income, and historically underserved communities where municipal networks, community networks, or social enterprises can expand affordable, reliable connectivity.
The grants fund broadband plans in each community. These plans include community engagement to understand what residents want, technical designs to build or expand a network, and analysis to understand the finances and human resources needed to turn a project from shovel-worthy to shovel-ready.
Broadband plans are foundational to a community’s efforts to build a robust, sustainable network that properly serves the needs of local people. They not only identify the appropriate technology and business models for a network, they help foster community support, increasing a network’s likelihood of success and making it a more attractive investment for funders.
With these pieces in place, communities can attract the follow-on investment needed to make their digital equity ambitions a reality — whether that be from the BEAD program or other sources of grants and investments. And with large volumes of government funding coming down the pike, now is the time for communities to engage in planning so that they are eligible to receive their share of the funds.
The BBB program is just the beginning of Connect Humanity’s efforts to prepare communities to build a digital future on their terms. In the coming months, we’ll be working with hundreds of the least connected communities across the US, ensuring they have the support they need to improve broadband for residents. And we’ll continue to support these recipients on their journey to digital equity.
Introducing the grantees
Makanda Township, IL
Township Board of Trustees
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Atlantic City, NJ
The City of Preston, ID
City of Elk Grove, CA
SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region)
As these communities move forward to implement their digital equity plans we’ll share their progress and the impact this work makes in the lives of residents.