The U.S. Treasury has approved a Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) award of $66 million to New Hampshire for rural broadband projects.
The CPF was established by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and is administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding can be used for a variety of purposes at each state’s discretion.
The Treasury Department says that the new funding completes New Hampshire’s total CPF funding of $122 million and will help connect more than 24,000 homes and businesses to broadband.
The New Hampshire Broadband Matching Grant Initiative (BMGI), provides a match to ISPs or municipalities that because of their topography, location or cost don’t have broadband. Funding recipients must provide symmetrical 100 Mbps service to homes and businesses.
Acceptance of a CPF award obligates service providers to participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The program provides discounts of as much as $30 per month — $75 on Tribal lands – on high speed Internet.
In addition, CPF rules require recipients to consider whether the networks will be affordable to the target market and “encourages” recipients to ensure that each household in target markets has access to at least one low-cost option capable of supporting multiple users.
Previously, Treasury awarded $50 million in CPF money to New Hampshire for broadband projects. The award was announced in early June and represented 41% of available CPF funding for the state. At the time, estimates were that the funding would enable providers to reach 15,000 homes and businesses in rural and remote areas, about half of locations in the state that lack high-speed Internet.
It’s worth noting that the awards made to New Hampshire for broadband total $116 million, which is less than the full $122 million in CPF money that, according to Treasury, has been allotted to the state. Perhaps the state used $6 million of the funding for some type of infrastructure other than broadband.
The most recent CPF broadband awards were announced at the end of August. Five states – Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska and North Dakota – were awarded a total of $408 million.
Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.