NOFO

The FCC has released a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for the Your Home, Your Internet and ACP Navigator programs. Applications are due by January 9, 2023.

Each program has a budget of $5 million for grants aimed at promoting participation in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which pays up to $30 a month toward the cost of broadband service for low-income households.

The Your Home, Your Internet (YHYI) pilot program is open to eligible state, local and Tribal housing agencies or non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and tenant associations. Grants are to be used for outreach activities to increase awareness of and participation in the ACP for households receiving federal housing assistance.

The ACP Navigator pilot program is open to “trusted, neutral third-party entities, such as schools and school districts or other local or state government entities,” the FCC explained in a press release. Awardees will use the national verifier to assist consumers with applying for the ACP.

As the commission explained previously, it will prioritize applications that target a broad geographic area and/or a large number of people in the target audience. Other criteria include whether a recipient will incorporate effective tracking and performance measurements and whether the recipient will encourage participation in the ACP by communities that currently have a low participation rate in the program.

Your Home, Your Internet NOFO

The 49-page NOFO provides some additional detail about how award decisions will be made. As the NOFO explains, merit reviewers will evaluate and score each application based on these criteria:

  • The applicant’s ability to conduct impactful outreach to target populations. Reviewers will examine the applicant’s role in the community, purpose and mission and prior outreach experience with low-income households. For YHYI funding, experience with outreach to federal housing assistance recipients will also be considered.
  • Potential impact of the proposed project, including the scope of the geographic area to be served and the estimated number of individuals the applicant intends to engage through proposed activities and the estimated percentage of those individuals that may be ACP-eligible.
  • Applicants’ ability to demonstrate that they would encourage participation by those in the target communities that have a low ACP participation rate, including households without broadband or that are not enrolled in a low-income broadband plan.
  • Potential benefits to other entities looking to assist federal public housing assistance recipients or other low-income consumers and the likelihood of generating best practices and lessons learned for others with similar needs.
  • Quality and feasibility of applicants’ proposed outreach, including a consideration of the applicants’ outreach strategies, goals and objectives; applicants’ projected outcomes; and applicants’ plan for tracking, evaluating and measuring the success of the outreach.
  • Whether costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results.

The FCC also plans to do a risk review on applications that are recommended for funding consideration. That evaluation will include a review of the financial stability of an applicant, the quality of the applicant’s management systems, its performance history, and findings from federal financial assistance audits. In some cases, the FCC may consider applying conditions to the award to mitigate risk.

The Your Home, Your Internet and ACP Navigator programs are two of four grant programs aimed at promoting the ACP. The other two are the National Competitive Outreach program and the Tribal Competitive Outreach program.

A NOFO for those programs was issued earlier this month.

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