The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, and their Lifeline program, provide subsidies to eligible low-income consumers for broadband wireline and wireless services, and devices such as laptops, desktops, or tablet computers. We need your help to get the word out and get people signed up for these programs. Lifeline is an existing program and is available now. The launch date for EBB has not been announced, but is tentatively April 2021.
EBB is a limited funding and limited duration benefit program so you need to act now to help Arizona low-income consumers get signed up before time and money run out. There is consensus that the most effective way to educate and enroll eligible consumers is through direct, personal contact with consumers from a trusted source. In some communities, the trusted source may be a social worker; in others it may be a community newspaper, a community-based organization (such as a senior center) or even another individual consumer in the community.
EBB and Lifeline Programs
FCC Emergency Broadband Program: The FCC EBB Program is a new program that provides eligible households a subsidy of up to $50 per month on internet service, or $75 per month for those living on Tribal lands. The EBB may also provide eligible households a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop or tablet computer. Launch date has not been announced, but tentatively May 2021. This is a limited duration benefit so Consumers need to act now.
The FCC Lifeline Program: Lifeline has been in existence since 1985, starting with providing subscribers a discount on monthly telephone service and expanding to include broadband internet service, bundled voice-broadband packages or telephone service purchased from participating providers. Today Lifeline provides a monthly discount of up to $9.25 on broadband internet or phone service for eligible low-income subscribers and up to $34.25 per month for those on Tribal lands. This benefit is ongoing for the foreseeable future. Subscribers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a wireline or a wireless service.
Become an Outreach Partner. We know that for many people signing up for government programs can be scary and complicated so we are encouraging schools, libraries, non-profit and faith-based organizations, social service and health care agencies, and local and state governments to help get the word out to your constituencies about the EBB and Lifeline programs, and to help eligible households register for these benefits.
To become an EBB Outreach Partner, register on the FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program website. https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit. When you sign-up you will also receive regular email updates from the FCC.
For Lifeline Outreach see https://www.lifelinesupport.org/community-outreach/
Identify a Navigator or Point of Contact within your organization to learn about the EBB and Lifeline, and the processes to help eligible consumers sign-up and take advantage of these programs
Print and distribute EBB and Lifeline fliers to your constituents
Additional Information: EBB and Lifeline Web Sites:
Local First Arizona Launches the Arizona Economic Recovery Center - Grants Info Local First Economic Recovery Center The Arizona Economic Recovery Center aims to enable more qualified Arizona cities, towns, counties, and nonprofits to win competitive federal, state, and foundation grants. Qualifying communities:
$7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund - What is it? See Benton Institute For Broadband For Society Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Here To help schools and libraries provide devices and Internet connectivity to students, school staff, and library patrons during the pandemic, Congress established a $7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund as part of the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Federal Communications Commission is now defining the rules to distribute the new funds to eligible schools and libraries for the purchase of eligible equipment and advanced telecommunications and information services for use by students, school staff, and library patrons at locations other than a school or library—primarily to homes.
Is this an E-Rate program? No, it isn’t the same as E-Rate. The fund is going to be administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) - the same entity that administers the E-Rate program for schools and libraries. While there are some commonalities between the two programs it is important to remember that the Emergency Connectivity Fund is not E-Rate and it will be its own program with its own rules, regulations and processes.
What are the rules? The rules, regulations and processes are not fully defined yet.
What will it fund? For eligible schools and libraries, this will provide funding (and reimbursement) for advanced telecommunications and information services and equipment including Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, devices that combine a modem and router, and connected devices. These funds can be used in competitive procurements or to reimburse eligible expenses dating back to January 27th, 2020. It is also worth noting that the funds from this program will remain available until September 30th, 2030.
Arizona Broadband Workshops Arizona Broadband Workshops Website The Arizona Commerce Authority, in cooperation with BroadbandUSA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Economic Development Administration (EDA) is presenting a new webinar series — the Arizona Broadband Workshops. Sessions will be offered on the first Wednesday of every month from 10 am to 12 pm, March through July. Through interactive exercises and discussions, city officials, economic developers and business leaders who attend will be connected with resources to build a roadmap for planning projects, including identifying funding opportunities and service providers.
April Regional Technical Assistance Breakout Sessions These interactive breakout sessions are an opportunity to connect with state and federal representatives about broadband in your community. Each breakout session is geographically divided and associated with a council of governments. Note these sessions are on the same day at different times Chose Your Region: If you are unable to attend your location's session, you are welcome to register for other sessions. Registrations required for each session
Wednesday April 21 8:30 a.m on Zoom : Maricopa County: Maricopa Association of Governments Register
Wednesday, April 21 10 a.m., on Zoom: Apache, Coconino, Navajo, and Yavapai counties: Northern Arizona Council of Governments
Wednesday, April 21, 1 p.m. on Zoom:Pima, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties: Pima Association of Governments and Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization Register
Wednesday, April 21, 2:30 p.m., on Zoom:La Paz, Mohave, Yuma, Gila and Pinal counties: Western Arizona Economic Development District and Central Arizona Governments Register
Using Data As A Foundation For Your Broadband Plan 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Wednesday, May 5 on Zoom. Open public data is readily available to jumpstart your broadband planning efforts. The key is understanding how to use the data effectively to tell your community story. Experts from BroadbandUSA will review the three main broadband data sets and demonstrate tools that you’ll be able to use to access the data for planning, business cases, partnership development, and grant applications. Register
Federal Resources and Local Support For Broadband 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Wednesday, June 2 on Zoom Broadband projects often require a mix of investment sources. Our panel of experts will highlight some of the Federal, State, local, and philanthropic programs that could be available to support broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion programs. REGISTER
Tribal Broadband This Session Specific To Tribal Communities - Invitation Only 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Wednesday, June 9 on Zoom Arizona is prioritizing critical broadband projects in underserved tribal locations across the state. In this session, the Kristine FireThunder, director of the Governor’s Office on Tribal Relations, will facilitate a discussion on strategies to build tribally-owned networks and further support tribal learning centers and digital training, including information on available financing and funding, community resources and more.
Broadband Adoption and Use - The Secret To Sustainable Networks 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Wednesday, July 14 on Zoom This session will draw from national and local models to explore new ways to bridge the digital divide and dive deep on topics such as: digital skills training, WiFi hotspots, broadband subsidies and tech mentoring. Practitioners in education, nonprofits and more will facilitate exercises to identify your community’s underserved segments and partners to reach those populations. REGISTER
Past Webinar Recordings
Broadband 101 - Broadband As A Foundation To Economic Development Join us for the first session in the Arizona Broadband Workshop series, featuring a variety of experts from the Governor's Office on Tribal Relations, BroadbandUSA and local experts. Learn about broadband terms, networks, and speed, and hear from others in your community about how broadband is transforming education, healthcare, agriculture and our economy. Then roll up your sleeves and complete exercises to help you identify the priorities that impact broadband in your community. WATCH
Creating Broadband Action Teams and Building Local Partnerships Arizona has worked collaboratively with public and private partners to coordinate broadband planning across the state. In this session, learn how to create a roadmap for your community’s broadband projects as you build a framework for community priorities, stakeholder engagement, asset inventories and more. WATCH
USDA Seeks Applications for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it is accepting applications for Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program grants to help provide educational and medical services in rural areas. Read the full stakeholder announcement here.
Other Broadband and Telemedicine Grant Opportunities
Telemedicine Training Programs May 24, September 13 and March 15, July 19, November 8 2021 Submitted by Task Force member Janet Major Information and Registration The Arizona Telemedicine Training Program and the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center offers 1-day training courses on telemedicine and telehealth. There are two tracks offered throughout the year; 1) Developing a Telemedicine Program and 2) Telemedicine Applications. ATP's staff and colleagues, many of whom are national experts in telehealth, distance education and the business of telemedicine, teach both tracks. The Arizona Telemedicine Training Program is accredited by the American Telemedicine Association. Advanced Registration is required to attend ATP training courses.
TRACK 1: Developing a Telemedicine Program January 11, May 24, September 13 2021 - This conference gives a broad overview of a variety of telemedicine topics. This course is excellent for individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding their services. It is also a great course for those new to telehealth who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of this growing industry.
TRACK 2: Telemedicine Applications March 15, July 19, November 8 2021 - This conference covers advanced telemedicine topics through an in-depth look at real-world clinical applications of telemedicine and telehealth. This course is excellent for individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding their services. It is also a great course for those new to telehealth who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of this growing industry.
Rural Community Development Initiative: U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA Rural Development offers grants to qualified intermediary organizations to provide technical assistance and training to help nonprofit organizations and communities develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facility or economic development projects in rural areas. Online Application Deadline: March 22, 2021 on Grants.gov | Paper Application Deadline: March 29, 2021
Rural Healthcare Connect Fund Program Fund: Universal Service Administrative Company This program provides a 65 percent discount on eligible broadband connectivity expenses for eligible rural health care providers that may apply as an individual health care provider or as a consortium. Application Deadline: April 1, 2021
Evidence-Based Telehealth Network Program: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration offers program funding for telehealth networks to improve access to health care using telehealth technologies in rural and frontier communities. Application Deadline: April 2, 2021
AARP Community Challenge: AARP: This opportunity provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are accepted for projects to improve public spaces, housing, transportation, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and more. Application Deadline: April 14, 2021
Native American Library Services Basic Grants: Institute of Museum and Library Services: This program offers Tribes grants to buy library materials, fund salaries and training, provide internet connectivity and computers or develop public and private partnerships with other agencies and community-based organizations. Application Deadline: April 16, 2021
Webinars and Info
NTIA Grant Programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021: March 17 | Webinar: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will provide an overview of new grant programs, including the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants, Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program.
CDFA Rural Development Finance Webinar Series: March 23, June 1, August 31 | Webinar Series The Council of Development Finance Agencies offers a series on financing options to preserve rural communities, investments in health care, broadband, manufacturing, food systems and education.
Arizona Corporation Commission Meeting RE: Arizona Universal Service Fund April 13, 2021Time TBA Arizona Corporation Commission Meeting Room 1 Watch LIVE online at: http://www.azcc.gov/live Phone: 1 (866) 705-2554 Passcode to Speak 241497# Pass Code To Listen Only, Use Passcode 2414978#
Lea Marquez Peterson, Task Force member and Chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission has placed discussion of the the Arizona Universal Service Fund on the ACC agenda for April 13 (T-00000A-20-0336). Chairwoman Marquez Peterson is proposing to transition the Arizona Universal Service Fund High Cost Fund (Title 14, Chapter 2, Article 12, Part A of Arizona Administrative Code) to a rural broadband development grant or fund, to help bridge the digital divide between urban and rural communities in Arizona and deliver universal, equal, and equitable access to high-speed internet across the state, including tribal and rural communities where last-mile and middle-mile infrastructure has been underprovided. The AUSF currently collects $1.2 million per year ($460,000 is currently unused). (NOTE) this is not the only agenda item scheduled at this meeting. Please note that this one of the Task Force Recommendations included in the Strategy Report.
Open Docket No. T-00000A-20-0336 - Submit Comments Submit comments here. Chairwoman Marquez Peterson has opened a Docket regarding the proposal. You can review and submit comments directly to Docket No. T-00000A-20-0336 on the ACC web site or email Lea directly at: email@example.com and she will post your comments to the docket. Submit comments here. You DO NOT have to create an ACC Portal Account to submit a Utilities Public Comment.
Download File Attached is the presentation Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson delivered at the November 5th Staff Meeting regarding Arizona Universal Service Fund (High Cost Fund), Transition to Rural Broadband Development Fund.
Recording: ADE Webinar with School Technology Leads and the Sun Corridor Network View video here.Video Access Code: SCN2021 On March 3 the Arizona Department of Education and the Sun Corridor Network presented a webinar Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and the Sun Corridor Network. Technology leads in Arizona schools that are a part of the Sun Corridor Network shared how the network works and the benefits of participation. Representatives from Paradise Valley School District and Vail School District discussed how they started with and currently utilize the Sun Corridor Network for their school district. As you may know, the Sun Corridor Network is the Internet network developed and used by Arizona’s public universities. The network connects research and education communities around Arizona to help foster opportunities for communities to collaborate, share ideas and obtain new information. If you were not able to join, please watch the recording and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. View video here.Video Access Code: SCN202