PSA Awards Second Round Of Grants For Rural Internet Service

LINCOLN, DECEMBER 6, 2022 – The Nebraska Public Service Commission today approved 37 grants totaling $20,351,778.01 from the  Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program (NBBP). 

“As expected, the second-year of the NBBP grant program has surpassed the initial funding  year,” said Commission Chair Dan Watermeier. “We have a good process in place and are eager  to provide funding to continue broadband buildout to unserved and underserved Nebraskans.” 

During the 2022 grant cycle, the PSC received 115 applications for funding through the NBBP.  As part of the grant review process, the Commission also received challenges from parties  stating that they already served an area covered by a grant application or they plan to provide  service to the area in the near future. 

Upon review of the applications and challenges received, the PSC determined 103 submissions remained for consideration for funding. However, the funding needed to fulfill all 103  applications far exceeded the $20.3 million available for the 2022 grant cycle.  

The Commission then applied a scoring system to the applications to weigh them based on the  projects details and the applicants’ financial, legal, and technical capability to build a broadband  network. Projects were also ranked by priority in bringing broadband to entirely unserved areas  first, before funding underserved areas. Once projects were scored, the Commission awarded  available funding until the funds needed to support any given project were exhausted.  

The Commission determined 37 grants submitted by 14 providers would be approved and  receive a total of $20,351,778.01 in funding. Projects funded through today’s award must be  completed by June 6, 2024. Providers may apply for an extension of this deadline for good  cause.

A detail list of the approved projects and funding amounts can be found on the Nebraska  Broadband Bridge Program page of the PSC website.  

Created by the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act (Neb. Rev. Stat §§ 86-1301 – 86-1312) the  NBBP provides up to $20 million dollars annually for the deployment of broadband networks  capable of at least 100/100 Mbps (up/down) in unserved and underserved areas of the state.