Matching grants to support research on the feasibility of geographically based broadband networks.
Feasibility studies provide factual data and information necessary to make informed decisions about potential broadband network infrastructure investments. The geographic area of a feasibility study may range from a rural township to a county or an even larger region. A well-designed study will provide information on existing broadband infrastructure and services, prospective customer demand and willingness to pay for improved broadband services, technology options, prospective provider partnerships and business planning. A study can be designed to examine any or all of these elements, depending on where a community is in the broadband improvement process.
Through experience, Blandin Foundation now recognizes that feasibility study impacts are maximized when a community has done important community development work in advance of hiring a feasibility study consultant. This work includes forming and educating a cross-sector steering team about community broadband development; interviewing existing and prospective broadband providers; considering public sector roles in broadband development; and discussing these preliminary findings with citizens and local elected officials. Applicants should be prepared to document these activities in advance of applying for a feasibility grant. The Foundation’s Community Broadband Resources program can help.
Application deadlines for 2021 are May 3, August 2, and November 1.