The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that 21 million Americans lack broadband access. Broadband is a critical infrastructural component needed for business development, job creation, health care services, education, and more. Last week, the Pew Charitable Trusts released a 48-page analysis of state programs related to broadband improvements. The analysis mentioned ARC’s POWER Initiative and our commitment to connect broadband to other policy priorities such as economic development, transportation, and agriculture. The report also highlighted broadband expansion efforts in four Appalachian states – North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia – and how each is working to close connectivity gaps. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s (TNECD) Broadband Accessibility Grant Program, for example, has awarded more than $25 million to broadband support projects within 30 counties since 2018.
Similarly, in 2019 ARC’s POWER Initiative awarded more than $13 million to broadband projects in coal-impacted communities and we’re excited to continue this support. POWER is currently accepting applications for grant funding in fiscal year 2020. The application deadline is 5:00pm on March 27, 2020, via the POWER 2020 Application Portal. If you’d like to learn more about how to prepare a strong POWER application, watch these brief videos for some important tips!