Broadband Provisions in ARPA for Libraries

Mar 17, 2021

Finger touching tablet with web technology icons and BROADBAND inscription.Libraries may have questions about what the broadband provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) will mean for libraries. We came across the summary below that details some of the funding.

Wyoming should see some of this funding, and the State Library will keep the library community informed as things develop.

On e-Rate, our WSL Library Development Office is developing a list of consultants. The normal e-Rate application closes on March 25, but we anticipate that the ARPA funding will likely be offered outside of the traditional window, although no official announcement has been made yet.

Broadband Impacts

From CTC Technology and Energy

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law on March 11, 2021. Included in the $1.9 trillion package is significant funding that can be used to support expansion of broadband infrastructure. Here are some of the key broadband-related funding provisions:

  • Economic Development Administration (Department of Commerce): $3 billion in additional funding to the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (PWEAA) program through September 2022
  • Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (Department of the Treasury): $10 billion for “capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency”; in addition to capital projects, eligible efforts include ancillary services (such as broadband mapping) to increase efficiencies of capital projects, and cost support efforts (such as subsidies)
  • Emergency Connectivity Fund (FCC): $7.2 billion for E-Rate support to reimburse schools and libraries for provision of eligible equipment and advanced telecommunications and information services during the pandemic, including for locations other than schools and libraries
  • Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund: $219.8 billion for investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure
  • Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund: $130.2 billion for rural community development block grants (CDBG) ($45.6 billion), rural areas ($19.5 billion), and counties ($65.1 billion, population-based), including for investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure
  • Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund: $500 million ($250 million per year for 2022 and 2023) for Tribal use only “for any governmental purpose other than a lobbying activity”

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