The Biggest Hurdle

Without questions, adequate funding can make or break a project….and finding those resources can be a long, frustrating process without a little support. The categories below address various elements of the grant process to help you navigate through new territory, and improve the odds for a successful grant award.

Disclaimer: These materials are provided for general information purposes only. They are intended to provide the general public with a broad spectrum of support resources without claiming to be the entirety of information available. Solarity makes no representations or warranties, implied or otherwise, that, the content available from this Guide is free from errors or omissions.


BroadbandUSA: An introduction to effective public-private partnerships for broadband investments: This publication provides an overview of common broadband partnerships, the factors communities should consider in developing a successful partnership model, and tips and best practices NTIA has observed through its oversight of $4.5 billion in broadband grants to public, private and joint projects across the country.

CAF Auction will provide $2B for rural broadband: The FCC said today that it expects to conduct a reverse auction of up to $1.98 billion in Connect America Fund (CAF) money in 2018, which will go toward the cost of bringing broadband to rural areas lacking broadband service.

Show Me the (Hidden) Money for Community Broadband: Many a plan for building a community broadband network has been hung up on the shoals of financial uncertainty. However, there’s actually much more money available for broadband than many communities realize.

STATEMENT OF FCC CHAIRMAN AJIT PAI On the Future of Broadband in the Lifeline Program: Chariman Pai discusses his support of broadband in the LIfeline program to help provide affordable, high-speed Internet access for our nation’s poorest families. 

CFO: ‘Non-sustainable’ T-Mobile Lifeline Business to be Phased Out: T-Mobile’s business selling service to low-income users whose costs are paid, at least in part, through the Universal Service Fund (USF) Lifeline program is “non-sustainable,” said Braxton Carter, T-Mobile chief financial officer today.  

Understanding the Risks & Rewards of Public-Private Partnerships: Next-generation public-private partnerships (P3s) will focus on goals citizens want to support — especially projects that inspire them, such as ensuring access to safe water supply or quality affordable housing

Broadband Funding Quick Reference Guide: A matrix of federal grant opportunities and loan programs with a few notable details such as eligibility requirements, priority funding areas and special criteria (best if printed on 11” x 17” paper).

Ten Good Practices for Grant Applications Placecard: A summary of practical advice tips for how to put together a well-rounded grant application (best if printed on 11” x 17” paper).

Example of a funded Broadband project grant: In 2010, the City of Williamstown, KY received a $535,000 Broadband USA grant to deploy services in areas of Grant and Owen Counties. See their original grant application and a project overview.

Standard Federal Grant Elements: Federal grants have several mandatory components for all grant applications. Here are a few of the basics, as well as links to current grant opportunities at the 26 federal agencies.

Grant Training Resources: To learn the basic skills of grant writing, several national training organizations provide online resources and local area workshops.     

Contract Labor Resources: When organizations don’t have trained grant writers on staff, there can be a need for contract labor. Here are links to a few local and national professional fundraising associations who can publicize hiring notices within their networks.

Grant Opportunities Websites: Find links to federal grants and private foundation funding opportunities through these well-known grant source websites.

Private Foundation Funding: Private charitable foundations are another resource for project funding. See a Sample Grant Application and Sample Letter of Inquiry, both of which are standard practices for private foundation requests.

KentuckyWired Community Broadband Funding Guidebook: Prepared by CTC Technology and Energy, this guidebook contains an overview of federal funding options for communities and utilities that will potentially enable them to leverage the KentuckyWired middle-mile infrastructure.