This grant program, as part of Mississippi’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, provides grants to electric cooperatives and other broadband providers to expand high-speed internet access throughout the state. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an immediate increased need for reliable internet service in rural Mississippi, including expanded rural broadband capacity to facilitate and assist with distance learning, telemedicine, and telework, which are required for citizens to continue their education, receive necessary services, and work in a healthy and safe environment.
This grant program, known as the "Mississippi Electric Cooperatives Broadband COVID-19 Act" (“Act”), was established by the legislature under SB 3046. The full text of the bill can be found here.
- All projects under each of the Grant Programs which are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 as provided under Section 601(d) of the federal Social Security Act as added by Section 5001 of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its implementing guidelines, guidance, rules, regulations and/or other criteria, as may be amended or supplemented from time to time, by the United States Department of the Treasury; and (b) that the recipient has not received and will not receive reimbursement for the expense in question from any source of funds, including insurance proceeds, other than those funds provided under Section 601 of the federal Social Security Act as added by Section 5001 of the CARES Act. Guidelines from the United States Department of Treasury are listed here, and FAQ’s are posted here.
- All projects under each of the Grant Programs must be designed to immediately provide increased broadband services to an area or areas that have been determined by the Public Utilities Staff to be unserved or underserved according to the latest publicly available Federal Communications Commission broadband data.
- Under this Act, electric cooperatives may only apply for and receive grants under the Cooperative Program, and broadband providers may only apply for and receive grants under the General Program.
- All projects must include the provision of or connectivity to a high-speed, high-capacity transmission medium that can carry signals from or to multiple sources at a rate not less than one hundred (100) megabits per second in the downstream direction and not less than one hundred (100) megabits per second in the upstream direction.
- For each dollar of grant monies requested for a project or projects by an applicant, the applicant must commit and spend a dollar of nongrant monies toward such project or projects. Universal Service Fund, Connect America Fund, or other grants awarded for broadband expansion through a separate state or federal program shall not be used for the required matching funds; but this limitation shall not include or extend to any loans of any kind.
- The primary application made by an applicant shall be for a grant totaling not more than Six Million Dollars ($6,000,000.00).
- Any grant monies provided under this act shall be spent no later than December 30, 2020, or by such later date as may be specified in the guidelines, guidance, rules, regulations, and/or other criteria of the United States Department of the Treasury regarding the use of monies from the Coronavirus Relief Fund established in Section 5001 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Timeline for Applications
July 7, 2020:
Deadline for applicants to request information on unserved and underserved census blocks from the Public Utilities Staff
July 10, 2020:
Public Utilities Staff will identify census blocks that are unserved or underserved
July 17, 2020:
Deadline for primary applications to be received by the Public Utilities Staff
July 28, 2020:
Primary application awardees will be notified by the Public Utilities Staff
July 29, 2020:
Deadline for secondary applications
July 31, 2020:
Funds will be disbursed by the Department of Finance and Administration
August 11, 2020:
Secondary application awardees will be notified by the Public Utilities Staff
August 14, 2020:
Funds for secondary application awards will be disbursed by the Department of Finance and Administration
September 15, 2020:
Initial progress reports due to the Public Utilities Staff
December 30, 2020:
Deadline for spending grant funds
Please send any questions or information requests to covid19grant [at] mpus.ms.gov
Applications (3 hard copies and an electronic copy) should be delivered to:
Mississippi Public Utilities Staff
ATTN: Mississippi Broadband COVID-19 Grant Program
501 N. West Street
Jackson, MS 39201