Key application dates for the next round of grants available from the Broadband Expansion Grant Program have been announced. The PSC will make applications available on Sept. 1 and they will be due Dec. 1. The funding for the grants was appropriated in the 2019-2021 state biennial budget.

In this grant round, $24 million has been made available to applicants to help expand high-speed broadband internet to unserved areas of the state. The grant funding is equal to the 2020 grant round which, at the time, was more funding offered than all the seven previous rounds combined.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the critical need for broadband service,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “With many working from home, distance learning for our children, and healthcare through telemedicine as the only option for some, broadband internet is an essential service. Too many in our state lack access, and with this funding, we need to look at those who are most affected by this pandemic and target these dollars to connect them.”

The 2019-2021 biennial budget provided $48 million over the biennium for broadband expansion grants. For the 2020 round of funding, the PSC received 143 applications requesting $50.3 million for large and small projects. In March of this year, just prior to the Safer at Home order, the PSC awarded 72 grants to extend high-speed internet access to as many as 3,182 businesses and 46,537 homes, including 39,778 locations that are unserved