The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the final funding allocations for its Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program, and is offering funding to awardees chosen by the agency.
The FCC is offering up more than $4.3 million in funding for the National Competitive Outreach Program (NCOP) Round 2.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, offers eligible low-income households a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service and up to $75 per month for eligible households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
As part of the commission’s efforts to drive ACP participation, the FCC established the ACP Outreach Grant Program to engage with partners around the country to help inform ACP-eligible households about the program in their local communities, with funding and resources to support such outreach and community engagement.
In March 2023, the FCC adopted the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Fifth Report & Order making available a second funding opportunity for the ACP Outreach Grant Program. This new funding opportunity is intended to provide targeted funding towards 11 states and territories where funding minimums were not met during Round 1. The eleven states and territories are American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The FCC explained in a press release that to determine funding allocations, the FCC reviewed 21 grant applications to determine the impact of proposed projects against the grant program’s goal, objectives, and priorities. The commission said submitted applications were assessed using a three-step review process:
- Eligibility review to determine if the applicant is eligible and submitted a complete application package as required in the NCOP Round 2 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO);
- Merit review to determine the quality of proposed projects against program objectives, activities, and costs/budget using pre-determined criteria; and
- Risk review to determine the fiscal stability of an applicant using many factors including the quality of the management systems, history of grant performance, and audit reports and findings.
The FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau will contact funding awardees to prepare for and issue Notices of Award (NOAs). Once NOAs are issued, funding awardees will have 30 days to accept their award. The FCC said this will mark the start of their one-year period of performance for NCOP Round 2.