The Joint Bond Review Committee approved the allocation of $30 million 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.
The ORS issued Notices to Proceed to 18 internet service providers in 19 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 the SCDOC jointly developed guidelines for the Rural Broadband Grant Program to help ensure that the deployment of grant funds increases the availability and access to broadband in the eligible counties. Recipients are required to provide a 1:1 match of nonpublic funds for any project receiving grant funds.
The ORS accepted application through May 14, 2021.
Areas of Need
The ORS developed a broadband availability map showing premises meeting 25/3 Mbps (download/upload) speeds. Projects were prioritized based on areas with the most need.
The Federal Communications Commission awarded projects through its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to help expand access to broadband in South Carolina.
Challenges could be filed on the basis that the area is already served. Additionally, a competitive challenge could 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.
|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|
|Final Reporting Due||1/15/23|
*All dates are no later than