Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program
In the past several years, South Carolina has made great strides in improving access to high-speed broadband across the state. It has achieved this through the creation of key broadband strategic planning offices, including the South Carolina Broadband Office in 2021 and the Digital Equity Office in 2022, and through committing significant resources to expanding access for high-speed broadband, $400m coming from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds alone. South Carolina is excited to utilize the approximately $551m of its allocated BEAD funding to take the next steps and has articulated its vision, goals, strategies, and other relevant information in this Five-Year Action Plan (accessible below under the "BEAD Planning Documents" drop-down menu) to describe both what the State of South Carolina (the State) intends to accomplish and how it intends to do so.
Capital Projects Fund
The Capital Projects Fund (CPF) provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency. South Carolina is approved to receive $185.8 million for broadband infrastructure, which will fund the "Next, Next Greatest Thing – Main Street South Carolina" (MAIN ST) grant program, a competitive last-mile broadband grant program designed to provide affordable, reliable broadband service to rural areas that currently lack adequate internet service. Within those eligible areas, the MAIN ST program prioritizes projects that will deliver broadband to rural town centers and the surrounding residential areas.
Accelerated Deployment Grant Program
The 2023 Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (“SLFRF”), Accelerated Deployment Grant Program (ADGP), seeks to compensate a portion of those construction costs for the expansion of broadband infrastructure to households, business, and communities in the State that were unserved.
American Rescue Plan Act - State Fiscal Recovery Funds
On May 13, 2022, Governor Henry McMaster signed H.4408, which includes an allocation of $400 million to the Office of Regulatory Staff -- South Carolina Broadband Office for the purpose of deploying broadband infrastructure. All American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds must be awarded through competitive grant processes.
Last Mile Grant Program
The Broadband Office has approximately $1 million in CARES II (state funds) available for disbursement to South Carolina Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The Last Mile Grant Program application will open the week of April 18, 2022.
Rural Broadband Grant Program
The Joint Bond Review Committee approved the allocation of $30,000,000 for the Rural Broadband 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.
Santee Cooper is accepting applications from broadband providers interested in accessing excess fiber and transmission infrastructure. Santee Cooper is not a provider of broadband, but instead will allow providers access to its 1,200 miles of excess fiber and transmission poles on the nearly statewide system to enable a faster and less expensive expansion into unserved areas.
Fiscal Year 21-22 Appropriations Act
The Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Appropriations Act allows for broadband infrastructure projects, including those that were approved for funding pursuant to Act 142 of 2020, but not constructed by December of 2020, to be completed through the Broadband Infrastructure Program.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress to help provide relief to the United States economy from the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act provided additional funding for broadband infrastructure deployment to enhance distance learning, telehealth services, and other needs.