The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released the Final Rule for the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program; It will direct $268 million for expanding broadband to eligible historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs).
“Tribal colleges and universities, historically Black colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions are bedrock centers of learning that have long delivered for their communities, but they have too often been left behind when it comes to having access to affordable, high-speed broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program will deliver immediate benefits to these communities and institutions while informing the larger efforts planned under President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.”
The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program was established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Grants will be distributed to help HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs buy broadband service or equipment, hire IT personnel, operate a minority business enterprise, and facilitate educational instruction. The Final Rule describes the programmatic scope and general guidelines for the program. It also establishes a method to determine applicant eligibility and identify which eligible recipients have the greatest unmet financial needs.
“The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program builds on the foundation that began with the launch of the Minority Broadband Initiative two years ago,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Evelyn Remaley. “NTIA is eager to build on the relationships we’ve made with HBCUs, TCUs, and other anchor institutions around the country.”
Find requirements for grant applications in the Notice of Funding Opportunity to be published on grants.gov. NTIA is also holding webinars to further inform the public about the program. The next Connecting Minority Communities webinars will be held on June 23 and 24.