Matching Funds for BEAD Grants

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The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, a broadband grants program directed towards states and territories, requires that subgrantees obtain matching funds for their projects. In general, applicants for funds (the subgrantees), must provider at least 25 percent of the matching funds, although state broadband offices (the “Eligible Entity” under the law) have flexibility on changing the amount.

According to the Notice of Funding Opportunity issued by the NTIA in May 2022, Section III (B) (1)-(2) (PDF page 20),

“Except in certain specific circumstances described herein (including projects in designated “high-cost areas”) …for each broadband deployment project utilizing BEAD grant funding, each Eligible Entity shall provide, require its subgrantee to provide, or provide in concert with its subgrantee, matching funds of not less than 25 percent of project costs. Funds from federal programs, including funds from the Commission’s Universal Service Fund programs, generally may not be used as matching funds; however, the Infrastructure Act expressly provides that matching funds for the BEAD Program may come from a federal regional commission or authority and from funds that were provided to an Eligible Entity or a subgrantee for the purpose of deploying broadband service under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021; or the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021….

“While the match may be provided by multiple sources, Eligible Entities are encouraged to require a match from the subgrantee rather than utilizing other sources where it deems the subgrantee capable of providing matching funds… Eligible Entities are also required to incentivize matches of greater than 25 percent from subgrantees wherever feasible (especially where expected operational costs and revenues are likely to justify greater investment by the subgrantee) by focusing on minimizing the BEAD funding outlay on a particular project…”

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