The South Carolina Broadband Office (SCBBO) has established a new broadband funding program with a $100 million budget. Applications will be accepted from May 15 to July 15 and final awards announced in November.
The program will be known as the ARPA CPF 1.0 grant program. According to a press release, it’s the fourth major tranche of South Carolina broadband investment.
Priority projects will be those in census blocks with large numbers of K-12 students, that are in “difficult development areas” and that are without an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Funding recipients will be required to deploy symmetrical 100 Mbps service in all funded areas.
“With the support of Governor McMaster, the South Carolina General Assembly, and a strong partnership with the US Treasury, the CPF allows us to continue our rapid expansion of broadband statewide,” said Jim Stritzinger, the Director of the SCBBO, in a press release.
“Together with this additional funding, the SCBBO has mapped the state – for the first time ever – with location-level precision (BSL). This means that more homes and businesses will be more accurately characterized as unserved and be eligible for CPF investment.”
The SCBBO also offered a final summary of a previous funding program known as ARPA SLFRF 1.0. According to the summary, the program is on track to provide access to 21 additional municipalities, construct approximately 5,600 miles of fiber and provide high-speed internet access to 43,582 locations.
In all, ARPA SLFRF 1.0 will provide investment in 61 projects, with SCBBO commitments of $154,574,520 to 15 different ISPs in 34 counties. The total budget is $286,213,157. This constitutes a match rate of 46% with non-ARPA funds from other federal and/or private investment sources. All ARPA SLFRF 1.0 projects will be complete by December 31, 2024.
The summary reported that several projects were cancelled subsequent to a February funding announcement because of overlapping infrastructure builds. In addition, some approvals were added based on corrections in provider-reported data.
AT&T and Comcast were among the 15 winners of funding named in the February announcement. In all 15 providers won grants totaling $132.8 million. The funding will cover 52% of construction costs.