The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is administering a new Connecting Minority Communities Pilot program that aims to support minority communities with funding for technology advancement and broadband. The program has a $268 million budget, appropriated from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The program targets eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Grant funding will help eligible entities purchase broadband service or equipment, hire IT personnel, operate a minority business enterprise, and facilitate educational instruction.
“Tribal colleges and universities, historically Black colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions are bedrock centers of learning that have long delivered for their communities, but they have too often been left behind when it comes to having access to affordable, high-speed broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo in a prepared statement. “The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program will deliver immediate benefits to these communities and institutions while informing the larger efforts planned under President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.”
Rules for the program have been established and published in the Federal Register. In addition to the purchase of equipment, the funding may be used for the “[p]urchase of broadband internet access service, including the installation or upgrade of broadband facilities on a one-time, capital improvement, basis in order to increase or expand broadband capacity and/or connectivity at the eligible institution.”
Eligible students should get priority for broadband service that is funded through the program, according to the published rules. The program will remain in effect until all funds have been disbursed. NTIA is holding a series of webinars on June 23 -24 for more information on the program.
The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot program joins other programs at NTIA funded through COVID-19 relief programs including the NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program, which allocates $288 million for partnerships between states or political subdivisions of a state and providers of fixed broadband service.
One thought on “Final Rules for $268 Million Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program Released”
I am getting so fustraited with all this! It isn’t just African Americans, Mexican Americans, etc. that are the minorities, white disabled females are also. And if you live rural (because that’s only were you can afford to) it makes it even harder to get access to broadband or anything for that matter. Being on disability (SSDI) as your income makes it impossible, doesn’t matter color of skin! My EBB credit had to get applied to my phone and the $100 discount on a laptop, well it looks like I don’t get to use it because there isn’t a company offering service or device in my area. Government doesn’t seem to care if people like me are able to take advantage of this credit. None of this is anything about skin color because EVERY COLOR AND SEX has the same issues. Hate to say this, but it is a fact, white females are a minority. Twice I tried to get medical help for cancer at two different counties (because of moving) and twice I was told the same exact thing by two different African American case workers , “Sorry honey, you are the wrong color for us to help you” it is not just happening to African Americans. Looks like EBB is doing it also because of where I live.