Using Electric Grants For Fiber

Finley Engineering has years of successful funding and grant application expertise. We
facilitate client success for all sectors; Municipalities, Energy Providers, County Governments, Regional Planning Commission/COGS, Broadband Providers, and Public-Private Partnerships. Our customer-centric approach meets all of your technical needs in exploring, deploying, and managing broadband deployment expansion projects. Check back often for more information on the latest funds available. 

There are many more billions of additional funding included in the Build Back Better Act that has passed in the House, but not yet the Senate. That bill would allocate many more billions over ten years to improve electric grids. The BBB Act also includes $24 billion in investment tax credits aimed at building at least 20 GW of high-voltage transmission lines. The BBB Act also includes a number of clean energy initiatives.

The new grant funding can be leveraged to extend fiber for a clever community.

  • The $6 billion for grid reliability research is likely going to be used for pilot projects to try innovative new technologies like cutting-edge smart grid. Part of implementing these solutions means building fiber, and there is no reason that grant-funded fiber can’t also be used for other purposes like broadband. Many know about the awesome municipal fiber network in Chattanooga, Tennessee – but many might not know the network got a kick-start from a smart grid pilot project funded by the ARRA Stimulus grants in 2009.
  • The $5 billion for hardening the grid against extreme weather is likely to be used to rebuild vulnerable pole lines or to move critical electric routes underground. Again, any electric company tackling this ought to put in fiber at the same time.
  • The same is true for the transmission fund grants – upgrading or extending transmission lines is another good time to build fiber simultaneously.

Communities need to collaborate with many stakeholders to find the best broadband solution. This funding allows bringing local power utilities into the mix to fix broadband. Municipal electrics and rural electric coops are well poised to coordinate the use of this funding with other broadband efforts – and nothing will stop commercial power companies from joining in local efforts.

Review Finley’s Whitepaper: Ensuring success in a changing Broadband landscape: Best Practices for Public-Private Partnerships.


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