The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) intends to make $980 million in awards to Tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion. On July 21 and 22, staff from NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program provided further detail regarding the TBCP.
In Session 4a, staff reviewed the Federal and programmatic forms that may be required, depending on the nature of a project, and walked prospective applicants through key fields across forms.
Natalie Romanoff, Grant Management Specialist with NTIA, detailed the SF-424 Family forms required whether an applicant is applying for a Broadband Use and Adoption Project (SF-424, SF-424A, SF-424B) or a Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Project (SF-424, SF-424C, SF-424D), and walked through completing the SF-424. Applicants may apply for both types of project in one application, in which case all requirements for both types of project are needed. Romanoff also covered the programmatic and budget documentation applicants must provide in their applications.
Grant application requirements are listed in the “Content and Form of Applications” section starting on page 14 of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).
Vanesscia Cresci, Broadband Program Specialist with NTIA, provided information regarding the specific requirements for Broadband Use and Adoption and Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Projects, completing the relevant budget or project narrative forms, and optional items applicants may include in the application to supplement required project design and financial information.
Cresci and Romanoff went on to answer frequently asked questions regarding the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) and Grants.gov, lead applicants, and technical features of the application process.
During Session 4b, NTIA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) covered “hot topics” pertaining to the TBCP application, including workforce development, access to telehealth services, network sustainability, digital inclusion, technical and financial feasibility aspects of potential projects, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and permitting programmatic aspects, providing guidance to applicants as to how it might be best to incorporate requirements into project plans and timelines.
Crystal Hottowe, Broadband Program Specialist with NTIA; Amanda Pereira, Environmental and NEPA Specialist with the First Responder Network Authority; Jana Waters, Acting Division Chief for the Division of Real Estate Services with the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Nicholas Courtney, Broadband Program Specialist with NTIA; and Gabe Montoya, Broadband Program Specialist with NTIA, each contributed insight into these and other topics relevant to prospective applicants at various stages of a project.
Important dates and timelines:
- The application window is 90 days: June 3, 2021 through September 1, 2021
- Applications submitted through grants.gov or by electronic mail must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. PDT on September 1, 2021, and applications submitted by postal mail or courier service must be postmarked or show evidence of mailing no later than 11:59 p.m. PDT on September 1, 2021.
- Eligible entities are required to complete their projects within one year of their receipt of grant funds. However, for infrastructure projects, the Assistant Secretary may extend the award period if the entity provides certification of need.
Technical assistance will be offered through regional entities on a monthly basis throughout the application window. Additionally, prospective applicants can reach out to Adam Geisler (email@example.com) for programmatic inquiries, and Nicola Bell (Nicola.Bell@noaa.gov) for grant management inquiries.
NTIA is seeking qualified volunteers for merit reviews, beginning in August and extending into October. See the BroadbandUSA website for more information about how to volunteer.
More information about the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, including answers to more frequently asked questions and requirements for grant applications, can be found on the program’s page on BroadbandUSA’s website. Also, please visit the website for:
- Video, slides, and transcript for this webinar, Tribal Broadband Connectivity Webinar, Sessions 4a and 4b;
- BroadbandUSA’s Tribal Nations page, housing resources relevant to Tribal governments;
- More information on upcoming sessions; and
- More information about all three of NTIA’s grant programs, including Notices of Funding Opportunity and Frequently Asked Questions, as it becomes available.