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Rural Broadband Grant Program

Photo of a field with SC state outline and broadband linesThe Joint Bond Review Committee has approved the allocation of $30,000,000 for a competitive grant program to be developed and implemented by the ORS, in coordination with the South Carolina Department of Commerce (SCDOC) to expand broadband availability and access in South Carolina.

Funded Projects

The ORS has issued Notices to Proceed to 16 internet service providers in 22 counties for almost $30 million in projects to expand broadband availability in rural areas of need in our state.

Guidelines and Application

The ORS and SCDOC have jointly developed guidelines for the Rural Broadband Grant Program to ensure that the deployment of grant funds increases the availability and access to broadband in the eligible counties. Applicants will be required to provide a 1:1 match of nonpublic funds for any project receiving grant funds.

The ORS accepted application through May 14, 2021. 

View all submitted applications.

Areas of Need

The ORS has developed a broadband availability map showing premises meeting 25/3 Mbps (download/upload) speeds. Projects will be prioritized based on areas with the most need.

The Federal Communications Commission has awarded projects through its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to help expand access to broadband in South Carolina.

Challenges

Challenges can be filed on the basis that the area is already served. Additionally, a competitive challenge may be submitted if there is overlap with federally funded projects as outlined in the Overlap with Federally Funded Projects: Competitive Challenge Process (PDF) document. An Excel version of the reporting template (.xlsx) is available. The challenge period was extended to midnight on May 17, 2021. Challenges were submitted to the ORS via email.

Timeline

Event Date/Deadline*
Areas of Need Published on the ORS Website 3/15/21
Application Period Opens 4/1/21
Challenge Period Opens 4/15/21
Application Period Closes 5/14/21
Challenge Period Closes 5/17/21
Submitted Applications Posted on the ORS Website 5/18/21
Comments Due on Submitted Applications 6/1/21
Funding Agreements Sent to the Companies 6/18/21
Funding Agreements Returned to the ORS 6/30/21
Notices to Proceed Issued 7/15/21
3rd Q 2021 Financial and Construction Progress Report Due 10/15/21
4th Q 2021 Financial and Construction Progress Report Due 1/14/22
1st Q 2022 Financial and Construction Progress Report Due 4/15/22
2nd Q 2022 Financial and Construction Progress Report Due 7/15/22
3rd Q 2022 Financial and Construction Progress Report Due 10/14/22
Project Completion 10/31/22
Final Reporting Due 1/15/23

*All dates are no later than

Rural Broadband Grant Program Timeline (PDF)