The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s “Internet for All”-branded series of webinars hosted a program on June 30, 2022, that provided step-by-step instructions for entities looking to apply for the Enabling Middle Mile Grant program.
The Enabling Middle Mile Grant program is part of the $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It is, however, a relatively modest program in that it makes only $1 billion available for middle-mile infrastructure builds.
Unlike the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, in which the “eligible entities” to apply to the NTIA are the states themselves, in the Middle Mile Grant program, a wide range of telecommunications providers – including electric coops. telecom companies, non-profit foundations, or partnerships between any of the listed entities – are eligible to apply.
The NTIA will award Middle Mile funds on a competitive basis no earlier than March 1, 2023. Applications are due September 30 and upon accepting awards, entities will have a 5-year deployment window for their middle mile infrastructure buildouts.
Applications begin by completing the SF-424: Application for Federal Assistance form which is available in the Middle-Mile Grant Program Application Package. The package includes an application checklist, forms, templates, and instructions and can be found on the Internet for All webpage.
SF-424 form content will be inputted into the NTIA grants portal. Detailed instructions for inputting information will be available in the Middle Mile Grant Program Application Guidance.
Applicants then continue the process through the grants portal, where they will provide details of their organization’s management and capacity. Applicants also indicate what type of entity they are, and the primary applicant in the case of partnerships. Applicants also upload one-page resumes for all key management personnel and all key personnel of subcontractors or entities that will play a substantial role in operating programs built through funding.
Applicants then upload organizational charts detailing all their parent companies. An organizational details narrative describing an entities readiness to manage a middle mile broadband network are required. The narrative should identify who will own the assets, the experience and qualifications of key management to undertake the project, the applicant’s experience in undertaking projects of similar size and scope, recent and upcoming organizational changes, and relevant organizational policies.
Finally, entities will upload forms CD-511: Certification regarding lobbying, and Form-LLL: Disclosure of Lobbying activities. A screenshot verifying the entities registration at SAM.gov will also be required.
In the webinar, NTIA’s Middle Mile Program Director Sarah Bleu suggests that applicants use the NTIA-provided templates to ensure the integrity of the application, and that applicants confirm that the project name and budget information are consistent across all forms.