Grant Application and Implementation

Grant Application

2021 Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund Grant Application

2021 Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund Rating Criteria

Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund 2021 Workshop Presentation

 

Program Implementation

Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund Program Guide

Sample Letter of Conditional Commitment

Sample Grant Agreement

State of Alabama Disclosure Statement

Certificate of Compliance with the Beason-Hammon Act

Compliance Language for Beason-Hammon Act

Signatory Authority Form

Broadband Invoice

Broadband Equipment Rate Request Form

Broadband Weekly Work Hours and Equipment Usage Report

ADECA Reporting Template

 

FAQ

Have ADECA and ADEM developed a “quick track” for permits?

Currently, there is no expedited process in place for the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act. However, we do have agreements in place to support the USDA Re-Connect Program.

What is the timeframe for awards?

Applications will be accepted starting on November 9, 2020. Completed applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM, CST, on February 8, 2021. Any applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

Existing service providers shall have from February 9, 2021 through March 23, 2021 to file objections to the eligibility of the proposed projects.

Grant announcements will be published within 90 days after expiration of the filing window.  Since the final day is not a standard workday, grant announcements will be made on May 7, 2021.

Will applications be posted online after closing to allow for reviews/challenge preparation?

Yes, applications will be posted on February 9, 2021 and challenges will be accepted for 30 business days. The challenge period will go until March 23, 2021.

Will the service providers’ normal procurement procedures be sufficient, or will public procedures be required?

Recipients must be non-government entities, therefore, Alabama Bid and Alabama Public Works Laws do not apply to service providers’ procurement procedures. Additionally, the Alabama Broadband Accessibility fund is funded through state funds. Therefore, if federal funds are not used in the project, federal procurement requirements will not apply to these projects.

Will service providers be required to follow environmental requirements and procedures?

The funds for this program are state funds; therefore, federal historic preservation and environmental regulations associated with federal grant funds do not apply. However, if federal funds are used, the federal regulations may apply to the entire project.

Furthermore, state and local requirements for permitting, reporting, or other approvals will be required.

Is the shape file for the Alabama Broadband map available?

Yes. Please contact us.

Will areas covered by 5-year agreements from CAF Phase 1 and CAF Phase 2 be considered ineligible? If a project proposes to serve one of those areas, can a provider challenge the eligibility?

In order to be eligible for funding, an area must meet the definition of unserved.

(4) UNSERVED AREA. Any rural area in which there is not at least one provider of terrestrial broadband service that is either: (1) offering a connection to the Internet meeting the minimum service threshold; or (2) is required, under the terms of the Federal Universal Service Fund or other federal or state grant, to provide a connection to the internet at speeds meeting the minimum service threshold by March 28, 2023.

Therefore, areas covered by CAF Phase 1 and CAF Phase 2 are generally ineligible if they are required to provide the minimum speed of 25 megabits per second of download speed and three megabits per second of upload speed. The provider receiving the CAF funds may challenge the application of another provider attempting to develop a project in these areas. Please note, the Legislation allows for projects to use the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund in conjunction with CAF funds, in certain circumstances.

(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of Section 4, eligible projects shall include any of the following: (i) an existing or future service provider which has or will receive support through federal universal service funding programs designed specifically to encourage broadband deployment in an area without broadband access, or (ii) an existing or future service provider which has or will receive other forms of federal or state financial support or assistance, such as grant or a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture; provided, however, that any award of state funds under the act, when combined with other forms of state or federal support or assistance dedicated to the project, other than interest-bearing loans, may not exceed sixty percent (60%) of the total project costs.  Nothing in this section shall prohibit a grant application who has not previously received any federal or state funds, grants, or loans for broadband development from applying for and receiving grant funds under the act.

Will ADECA provide identification of areas not meeting the definitions of unserved as discussed in question seven?

ADECA has provided a map that utilizes FCC data to show served and unserved based on the definition in Alabama’s legislation. However, applicants are encouraged to verify data from the map.

Does “terrestrial broadband service” include, or exclude satellite service, fixed wireless, and data service from cellular providers?

“Terrestrial broadband service” excludes both cellular service and satellite from the definition but includes fixed wireless.

May an applicant submit more than one project?

Yes, an applicant may submit more than one project and an applicant may receive funds for more than one project. Each project should have its own application and must stand alone in its benefits.

Will this grant reimburse projects that are currently underway?

Any activities that take place before the effective date of the grant agreement would be ineligible for reimbursement. Additionally, each project must “stand alone.” In other words, in order to receive the reimbursement, the entire project must be completed. Therefore, if you would like to use the funds to help further your expansion, you will need to select an area that meets the criteria and will be completely finished with beneficiaries by the end of the grant period.

What is the challenge process?

A complete challenge, including all documentation, must be e-mailed to broadband.fund@adeca.alabama.gov by the deadline established by ADECA. Challengers will only be allowed to challenge projects based upon eligibility as established by the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act. If ADECA determines that the challenge is valid, the applicant whose project was challenged will be given an opportunity to amend or rescind the application or dispute the challenge with documentation. All amendments must be completed by the deadline established by ADECA. Once a challenge is made and a response is provided, ADECA will make a final determination. Rescinded projects will be removed from the ADECA website. Amended projects will be placed on the ADECA website and the original will be removed.

What methodology can be used to show an area is unserved?

An applicant will be required to receive approval from ADECA for methodology prior to submitting an application. Generally, the methodology will include testing or documentation at both ends of a street in question. A map showing all test sites must be included in the application.

What specific evidence is needed in regard to demonstrating the need for greater broadband speeds, capacity, or service which is not being offered by an existing service provider?

Specific evidence may include documentation such as household surveys and/or letters from local hospitals, public schools, and/or public safety institutions. An example would be where a hospital needs a to have 100 megabits per second of download speed and 100 megabits per second of upload speed to offer telemedicine services. There is a local internet provider; however, they can only offer 25 megabits per second of download speed and three megabits per second of upload speed to the hospital. An application for funding would then include a letter by the hospital explaining the need for greater broadband speeds and they show documentation that they have attempted to gain greater speeds from the current local internet provider.

What if an area was unserved prior to the application, but became served prior to the grant agreement being executed?

Applicants are encouraged to conduct field reviews prior to investing time and resources in preparing an application. If ADECA becomes aware that a previously unserved area becomes a served area prior to the execution of the grant agreement, the project will no longer be eligible for funding.

Can a middle mile project be submitted without an end user project?

Generally, to meet the requirement of a “middle mile project, where the applicant demonstrates that the project will connect other service providers eligible for grants under this section with broadband infrastructure further upstream in order to enable such providers to offer broadband service to end users…”, a companion project must be submitted and approved for funding in order for a middle mile project to receive funding. However, some projects may meet other eligibility requirements from the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act without a companion project. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to contact ADECA for technical assistance.