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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

State Funding

Broadband Development Account

This account is held in the General Revenue Fund and consists of:

  • Appropriations
  • Gifts/Donations
  • Grants
  • Interest
  • Federal funds received for broadband development

The Broadband Development Account only can be used for administering the broadband development financial incentive program, creating or updating Texas’ broadband map, creating or updating the state broadband plan, and engaging in outreach or educational programs related to broadband.

The Comptroller’s office anticipates a five-year General Revenue cost of $3.8 million; the Texas Legislature initially appropriated $5 million to administer the Broadband Development Office. This budget includes five full-time employees to staff the office.

Texas Broadband Pole Replacement Program

This program, established by HB 1505 (PDF), will:

  • Reimburse pole owners or broadband service providers 50 percent of eligible pole replacement costs or $5,000 for removing and replacing existing poles, whichever is less.
  • Target unserved areas to accommodate the attachment of an eligible broadband facility.
  • Include a Broadband Pole Replacement Fund, which will be held in the state treasury outside General Revenue and be supported by the federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund. The fund can only be used for:
  • Supporting the pole replacement program.
  • Funding program administration and operation.

Estimated completion of rules: March 2022.

Federal Funding

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds provide emergency funding for states and eligible local governments across the nation. Texas received $15.8 billion from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund, and local governments in Texas received $10.5 billion from the Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. These funds are administered by the U.S. Treasury and can be used to make necessary investments in broadband infrastructure.

The state Legislature did not appropriate any funding from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund for broadband purposes. Texas residents should contact their local governments to learn how local funding is supporting broadband expansion.

Get more information on accessing and using these funds.

Senate Bill 8 (87th Legislature, Third Called Session)

Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) provides $10 billion to eligible governments to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency. Texas has been allocated $500.4 million. This fund is administered by the U.S. Treasury, and eligible uses include broadband infrastructure projects and digital connectivity technology projects.

The state Legislature appropriated all the funding from the CPF for broadband purposes. The Broadband Development Office (BDO) plans to stand up a competitive grant process to support local broadband projects around the state.

Read about guidance for the CPF.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

On Nov. 5, 2021, Congress passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Aside from investing in roads, bridges and other infrastructure assets, the bill seeks to extend broadband internet access to rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities. Initiatives in the broadband component of the IIJA total $65 billion, and they include:

  • $42.5 billion for broadband deployment grants (Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program) to states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories, with $100 million minimum to each state. The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will administer this component.
  • $14.2 billion for permanent broadband affordability through the Affordable Connectivity Program, which will replace the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
  • $2.8 billion for the Digital Equity Act to promote digital inclusion, digital literacy and digital inclusion grants such as projects to improve digital literacy or online skills for seniors. The NTIA will administer this component.
  • $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to meet the broadband needs of tribal communities. The NTIA will administer this component.
  • $2 billion for the ReConnect Loan and Grant Program to deploy broadband to rural areas.
  • $1 billion in grants for building out middle-mile infrastructure to reach last-mile households (for fiscal years 2022-2026). The NTIA will administer this component.
  • $600 million for private activity bonds to finance broadband projects in partnership with the private sector.

The BDO is monitoring the progress of this bill and communicating with the federal government on drawing down these funds to best serve Texas communities.

Get more information on the IIJA.

ReConnect Loan and Grant Program

In the 2017 farm bill, Congress created a grant program called ReConnect. The program awarded $200 million in loans and $200 million in a combination of grants and loans in 2019. Congress reauthorized an additional $600 million to be awarded in 2020. The IIJA provides an additional $2 billion to this program. These grants are administered and awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Get more information about ReConnect.

Broadband e-Connectivity Pilot Program

In March 2017, Congress passed a one-time $600 million grant/loan program to build rural broadband. Administered by the USDA, the project was labeled the e-Connectivity Pilot. Congress has added money to this program each year.

Learn about the pilot program.

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (Auction 904)

Administered by the FCC, this grant was funded by the Universal Service Fund, a mechanism by which interstate long-distance carriers were assessed to subsidize telephone service to low-income households and high-cost areas. The first phase was conducted in the form of a reverse auction that concluded in late 2020. That grant was supposed to award $16 billion in grants but ended up awarding a little over $9 billion. The remaining $7 billion, and another $4 billion, will be auctioned at some later date.

Get details on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

Connect America Fund

In 2011, the FCC created the Connect America Fund (CAF) to fulfill the statutory mandate that all U.S. residents have access to communications service that is reasonably comparable to what is available in urban areas. The FCC offered funding to the largest telecom companies for a six-year period (2015-2020) to extend 10/1 Mbps broadband to a specified number of locations and then subsequently held the CAF Phase II auction, open to competitive providers, in 2018 for those areas declined by the largest carriers.

CAF also provides support to another group of incumbent local telephone companies, which are smaller cooperatives and independent companies. These companies are subject to varying service obligations for fixed broadband: 10/1 Mbps and/or 25/3 Mbps to a specified number of residential and small-business locations.

Get details on CAF.

Emergency Broadband Benefit

In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Congress appropriated $3.2 billion to the FCC to help low-income households pay for broadband service and connected internet devices. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband services for eligible consumers. Consumers who live on qualifying tribal lands can receive enhanced support of up to $75 per month toward broadband services. The IIJA replaces the EBB with the Affordable Connectivity Program and adds more than $14 billion to the program.

Learn about the Emergency Broadband Benefit.


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