POWER is a congressionally funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America's energy production. Within the POWER Initiative, $15 million is specifically available for broadband related projects.
The development of broadband communications networks is one of the best ways to equip communities with the basic “building blocks” essential for economic and community development. ARC is dedicated to continuing broadband deployment in distressed counties in Central Appalachia as well as funds for a program of broadband deployment in distressed counties in North Central and Northern Appalachia.
ARC targets special resources to the most economically distressed counties in the region, using a measure of economic distress based on three economic indicators: three-year average unemployment rates, per capita market income, and poverty rates. ARC normally limits its maximum project funding contribution to 50 percent of costs, but it can increase its funding share to as much as 80 percent in distressed counties.
Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred investments in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, infrastructure (including broadband), community development, and transportation. These projects create thousands of new jobs, improve local water and sewer systems, increase school readiness, assist local communities with strategic planning, and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.
The Community Infrastructure Fund was created to target physical infrastructure projects that help build safer, more resilient communities in the Delta region. The three areas of investment through this program target basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, and flood control project centered around economic development.
States' Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP) is a competitive grant program designed to support economic development activities across the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. SEDAP addresses the DRA’s congressionally mandated four funding priorities: basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, and business development.
The Denali Commission is tasked with building infrastructure and economic opportunity in Rural Alaska. Broadband is critical infrastructure that all Americans need, though not all Alaskan’s have access to affordable broadband. This program is well suited for partnerships with additional funding agencies.
The Business and Industry program bolsters the availability of private credit by guaranteeing loans made by lenders to rural businesses. This program improves the economic health of rural communities by increasing access to business capital through loan guarantees that enable commercial lenders to provide affordable financing for businesses in eligible rural areas.
The Community Connect program helps fund broadband deployment in rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for private-sector providers to deliver service. The grants offer financial assistance to eligible service providers that will construct, improve, or expand broadband networks in rural areas.
This program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.