Arkansas— Grants of up to $75,000 each are available to help rural Arkansas communities apply for federal grants and loans to make broadband accessible to their residents.
Last year, $2 million was allocated as part of the Rural Broadband I.D. Expenses Trust Fund Grant. The program is funded by the state’s Restricted Reserve Fund and federal coronavirus aid allocated by the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Steering Committee created by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Just over $1 million remains available, and grant applications will be reviewed and awarded through June 30, 2021.
The broadband program is managed by the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). For more information about the program or to apply for the funds, visit https://idhi.uams.edu/rural-broadband-grant.
The grants are available to help cities, incorporated towns, counties and unincorporated communities conduct broadband due-diligence business studies, which are required in federal grant and loan applications for broadband infrastructure. Communities can use their broadband due-diligence business studies to apply for funding from:
• The Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Program;
• The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect);
• The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill; and
• Other federal grants or loans for broadband development programs.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P.