The state of Texas has begun accepting applications for $120 million for broadband deployments in rural areas. The awards will be made through the state’s Bringing Online Opportunities to Texas (BOOT) program.
The funding came through the Capital Projects Fund that was created in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). It is part of a total of $363.8 million in Capital Project funding awarded to the state for broadband.
States were allowed to use Capital Projects Fund money for a range of infrastructure investments, including broadband. Texas plans to use 73% of its total Capital Projects fund money for broadband.
The rural broadband funding will be allocated in multiple funding rounds. Applications for the current round must be submitted by May 5.
Those eligible to apply for funding include political subdivisions of the state, commercial broadband providers, non-commercial broadband providers and partnerships involving entities in two or more of the other three categories.
“I am encouraging potential applicants to review all supporting materials on the BOOT Program webpage before beginning an application,” said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar in a press release.
The state released a map of areas eligible for funding earlier this year. Unserved areas are defined as those lacking service at speeds of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.
Underserved areas as defined as those lacking service at speeds of 100 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream. Those requirements are in keeping with overall Capital Project Fund requirements established by the U.S. Treasury.
Requests for funding under the BOOT Program must be for at least $200,000 but less than $5 million. Funding recipients are required to deploy service at speeds of at least 100 Mbps symmetrically unless they can demonstrate special circumstances that would merit slower speeds. That requirement also is in keeping with overall Capital Project Fund requirements established by the U.S. Treasury.
Additional information about the BOOT program is available at this link.