The Utah Broadband Center (UBC), powered by the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, announces two new broadband planning grants are available to help local governments, municipalities, nonprofits, and government agencies develop plans to expand high-speed internet access and adoption in Utah communities.
These grants, funded by the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the Digital Equity Act, empower local stakeholders to identify areas of the state that need increased investment in infrastructure, skills training, or access to devices to facilitate Utahns’ access to critical digital resources such as telemedicine, remote work, or educational opportunities.
“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is critical for our state’s economic development and our communities’ way of life,” said Rebecca Dilg, Utah Broadband Center director. “These funds will help Utah communities identify gaps in infrastructure and other barriers that make it difficult to access all of the resources that are available in the digital world.”
The first grant is the Local Broadband Planning Grant. This grant helps local communities identify gaps in broadband infrastructure and develop a plan to connect unserved households. Funds may be used for research and data collection, mapping efforts, and community outreach, among other activities. The local plan will become a part of the state’s five-year Broadband Plan that will address infrastructure needs and other broadband access barriers.
The second grant is the Local Digital Access Planning Grant. These funds help recipients develop a five-year plan to address affordability, digital skills, and access to the necessary equipment to utilize online resources. There are many reasons why people cannot access digital resources, even when broadband service is available. The Local Digital Access Planning Grant helps identify and strategize a plan to overcome those barriers.
Both grants are accepting applications through Feb. 2, 2023. Recipients are expected to complete their five-year plans by June 1, 2023, for those plans to be included in the statewide digital connectivity action plan.
For more information about these funding opportunities, please visit broadband.utah.gov. Additional information about the Utah Broadband Center’s statewide outreach efforts and how to get involved can be found at allonline.utah.gov or by calling 435-264-8880.