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Florida Department of Commerce Sets Aside $13M+ for Broadband Grant Funding

Earlier this week, the department shared how organizations can apply for funding for digital devices through its digital connectivity technology program.

Closeup of yellow broadband cables with blue plugs plugged into a board.
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Commerce hosted an online webinar discussing how counties, municipalities, nonprofits and organizations can access more than $13 million in funding for digital devices through its digital connectivity technology program.

According to the department, program funding aims to expand broadband access by making computers, laptops, tablets and routers available for loan through local community centers like libraries and schools.

The program is funded by a capital projects fund established by the U.S. Department of Treasury as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

As for how the program works, Paul Wotherspoon, chief of broadband funding for the state’s broadband office, said it “allows you to invest in capital assets that address the community’s critical connectivity needs identified or exacerbated by the pandemic. This includes rural areas, tribal communities and low to moderate income communities.”

Proposed projects must directly enable work, education and health monitoring and address a critical need that resulted from or was made apparent during the pandemic to qualify for funding.

Examples of potential projects include installing equipment, providing instruction on the setup and use of digital equipment in borrowers’ homes or facilities and training digital connectivity technology program borrowers how to access and use the Internet.

Eligible entities must apply online by 5 p.m. EST on March 4, 2024.
Katya Diaz is an Orlando-based e.Republic staff writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University.