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This document is made available by the Indiana Broadband Office for educational and informational purposes to provide a one-stop shop for all programs, grants, loans, and broadband resources made available to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic and in general. Our team is constantly updating this document to ensure that we have the most updated resources available. It is important to note that the information we provide is general information to give you an understanding of what is available to you during this time. We do not give legal advice and are not equipped to do so.


Federal

Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT), and Broadband Program

$25 Million: The DLT grant program supports rural communities’ access to telecommunications, audio and video equipment, as well as related advanced technologies for students, teachers and medical professionals.

Federal Communications Commission - Telehealth

$200 Million: For the Federal Communications Commission to support the efforts of health-care providers to address coronavirus by providing telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services.

  • The FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Initiative,” ties right into our mission of connecting Americans for the future.
  • The Program will provide immediate support to eligible health care providers responding to the pandemic by fully funding their telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services.
  • Telehealth Program is limited to sort by nonprofit and public eligible health care providers that fall within the categories of health care providers in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the 1996 Act.
  • This is NOT a grant program.
  • DUE DATE: No deadline has been set for the filing of COVID-19 Telehealth Program applications.  Applications may be filed beginning at 12:00 PM (ET) on April 13, 2020, and funding decisions will be made on a rolling basis.  The Commission will continue to accept and review applications until the funding is exhausted or the current COVID-19 pandemic has ended. 
  • To register and create an FCC account to obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) Click Here.
  • To learn more about eligibility and to submit an ONLINE APPLICATION, visit fcc.gov/covid19telehealth. Here lists the purpose of the initiative.

Public Health Data Surveillance and Infrastructure Modernization

$500 Million: Funding to invest in better COVID-19 tools and build state and local public health data infrastructure.

  • View the Brochure
  • The CDC's Public Health Data Modernization Initiative is designed to invest in new and upgraded technologies that detect, track and analyze trends around disease outbreaks.
  • Efforts include modernizing current software systems and tools, increasing interoperability with stakeholder systems, coordinating IT investments and expanding public and private partnerships to monitor the spread of viruses and other health issues. Another initiative flags needed enhancements to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System to improve data collection, sharing and analysis across the public-health sector as well as acceleration of electronic laboratory reporting.
  • Click here for more information:

Elementary and Secondary Education – Education Stabilization Fund

$13.5 Billion: Over $13 billion in formula funding directly to states, to help schools meet the immediate needs of K-12 districts to improve the use of education technology and support distance education.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Received $75 million in emergency funds

  • To Be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including for fiscal stabilization grants to public telecommunications entities and to maintain programming and services and preserve small and rural stations threatened by declines in non-Federal revenues.
  • Provided that such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

Institute of Museum and Library Services

$50 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services to expand digital network access in areas of the country where such access is lacking, including the purchase of internet-enable devices such as “hotspots”

FCC Connected Care Pilot Program – Covid-19 Telehealth Program

$200 million for the FCC Connected Care Pilot Program to support efforts of health care providers to address coronavirus by using telehealth to connect with patients.

FCC – Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is the Commission’s next step in bridging the digital divide to efficiently fund the deployment of broadband networks in rural America.  Through a two-phase reverse auction mechanism, the FCC will direct up to $20.4 billion over ten years to finance up to gigabit speed broadband networks in unserved rural areas, connecting millions of American homes and businesses to digital opportunity. 

USDA ReConnect and USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine

$125 million in funds through the USDA Rural Development office, including $100 million for USDA ReConnect and $25 million for USDA Rural Utilities Service distance learning, telemedicine and broadband programs.

  • There is a second window for funding with a due date of July 13, 2020. This window includes an additional $25 million that Congress recently provided to the program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA is providing this additional window for those who were not able to complete applications prior to the first application deadline for the DLT program. Any money not awarded under the first application window will be made available in addition to the $25 million.  The Distance Learning and Telemedicine program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density.
  • Eligible applicants:
    • Most State and local governmental entities
    • Federally recognized Tribes
    • Non-profits
    • For-profit businesses
    • Consortia of eligible entities
  • More details, click here.
  • Click here to apply.

USDA Community Connect Grants

USDA Community Connect Program offers grants from $100,000-$3 Million for the construction of broadband service in unserved, lower income hard to serve rural areas. USDA - Community Connect Grants

E-Rate Funds - Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Schools and Libraries are eligible for federal funding to deploy broadband to facilities in Indiana. The Indiana State Library oversees the program. 

US Economic Development Association

EDA is now accepting applications from eligible grantees for $1.5 billion in economic assistance to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic using funds authorized by under the CARES Act that was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27.

  • Eligible applicants under the EAA program include a(n):
  • District Organization;
  • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes;
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions;
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education; or
  • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State.
  • Click here for additional information

State

Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund

The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), allows the Governor to provide support to local educational agencies (LEAs) and institutions of higher education (IHEs) with an application focus on developing and improving the availability of distance/remote learning techniques and technologies. Indiana received $61.6 million in GEER funding.

  • To address these current and future challenges, this grant program will focus on the following objectives:
  1. Device Availability – Address the urgent need for access to digital learning devices to support distance/remote learning for students in PK-12.
  2. Connectivity – Develop comprehensive community-level and regional-level solutions to address gaps in internet connectivity for distance/remote learning.
  3. Educator Capacity – Support partnerships between higher education and PK-12 to develop professional development and curriculum curation opportunities as educators throughout Indiana continue to build expertise in distance/remote learning.
  • Application Deadline: July 17th

OCRA: COVID-19 Response: Phase 2 Program

COVID-19 Response Program was created to address the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on Indiana’s rural communities. Funds are derived from the State’s annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocation and guidance was provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on how the funds were to be used. 

  • Eligible applicants include non-entitlement local units of government and can apply for up to $250,000. 
  • Deadline for Proposal: June 26th
  • Deadline for Application: July 31st
  • Click here for additional information.

OCRA: Next Level Connections Broadband Program

The Next Level Connections (NLC) Broadband Grant Program is designed to promulgate access to reliable and affordable broadband service to all areas of the state, which is necessary for a highly functioning 21st century economy.

  • Round 2 award announcements expected at the end of July

OCRA: Broadband Readiness Pilot Program

This new plan will help communities gain an understanding of their current broadband conditions and needs, create a long-term vision of broadband in their community, and identify options for achieving that vision. The plan will have to meet all the normal CDBG program criteria, and the grant amount will be a minimum of $50,000. The communities were announced on Wednesday, September 12. Click here to read the full press release: Crouch, OCRA announce recipients of broadband planning grant. To learn more about the next steps for these communities, watch this informational webinar and view more information.

OCRA: Broadband Ready Community Certification

The Broadband Ready Community certification sends a signal to the telecommunication industry that a community has taken steps to reduce barriers to broadband infrastructure investment. While investment in broadband infrastructure is not guaranteed to follow once a community obtains the certification, reducing the regulatory hurdles that deter investment is a key step towards creating an environment ripe for broadband investment. A local unit of government will be certified as a Broadband Ready Community if it has established a broadband deployment procedure that complies with the statutory requirements.

Providers’ COVID-19 Response Efforts

AT&T

Charter Communications

Comcast

Comcast extends 60-days of free internet service to new internet essentials customers

  • Originally set to expire on June 30, the free offer will now be available through the end of this year. In addition, Comcast will continue to waive, through the end of the year, the requirement that customers not have a past due balance with Comcast to qualify for the free offer.
  • Applicants can go to: www.internetessentials.com using any web-connected device, including mobile phones. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. In addition, there are two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

Digital Connectors: Building Futures Through Digital Literacy

  • This program is a year-long course where students receive digital literacy training three times per week at local schools, community center or other facilities. Students are able to put into practice the technical expertise they’ve gained by volunteering at various community-based organizations, senior centers, churches, and their own homes. Through this program, students learn how to network computer labs, connect wireless access points, design computer training modules and create social media projects.

Comcast’s COVID-19 Response

Mediacom Communications

  • Mediacom Communications announced the company is extending through the July and August billing cycles a series of previously announced initiatives directed at helping American families address work, education and health care challenges created by the Coronavirus pandemic.

National Digital Inclusion Alliance

  • NDIA has compiled a list of resources of Free & Low-Cost Internet Plans. This list is to help low-income households to acquire service at low or no cost. 

Sparklight

  • Sparklight announced it will extend through the end of the year many of its relief measures that were set to expire on June 30, 2020, to support customers and communities in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Customers can call 877-692-2253 for more information. 

Indiana Cable & Broadband Members Taking Unprecedented Action to Connect Hoosiers:

ComcastCharter, and Mediacom are offering new, low-income customers two free months of home internet and raising speeds in those programs:

Additional Resources

Federal

CDC Guidelines

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidelines on how to stay safe and what to do if you're sick.

National Institute of Mental Health

World Health Organization

  • The World Health Organization continues to update their website with resources for public advice, country and technical guidance, travel advice, and updates on the Coronavirus disease.

State

Coronavirus in Indiana

  • For immediate and up-to-date information on Coronavirus in Indiana
  • For the #InThisTogether Campaign 
  • General questions from the public or health care provider inquiries about COVID-19 may be directed to the ISDH COVID-19 Call Center at the toll-free number 877-826-0011 (available 24/7) or e-mail epiresource@isdh.in.gov.

Indiana State Department of Health

  • For FAQs and Answers from the Indiana State Department of Health

Indiana Department of Education

  • The Indiana Department of Education has created a Post IN-Class Release. This document answers FAQs and provides guidance for schools.
  • American Psychological Association

Indiana Department of Workforce Development

  • The DWD’s COVID-19 Information includes employment and career services, unemployment insurance information updates, and additional assistance.

Indiana Department of Transportation

INDOT Broadband Corridors Program

  • INDOT’s Broadband Corridors program removes barriers preventing broadband providers from accessing right-of-way along Indiana interstates and limited access highways.
  • Under this program, INDOT will assess a fee to the fiber optic and wireless industry for the ability to occupy space within limited access right-of-way and intended to pay for maintenance and management of the broadband corridor. In some cases, INDOT may instead opt for resource sharing agreements with broadband providers in order to expand state owned data transport facilities in areas where the state does not have broadband infrastructure.

COVID-19 Response

  • For information on INDOT’s COVID-19 Response, click here.

Indiana Small Business Development Center

The ISBDC has compiled a list of resources to help you navigate through these uncertain times. These resources include funding, counseling and advising, re-opening resources, and training.

Indiana Office of Utility and Consumer Counselor

Lifeline Telephone Assistance

  • Lifeline is a federally funded program providing a monthly discount on telecommunications services for eligible consumers.
  • There are two ways to qualify:
  1. Have a household income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, or.
  2. Be enrolled in one or more of the following programs:
    • Medicaid
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Food Stamps
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
    • Veterans Pensions and Survivors Benefit Programs

Indiana Broadband Specific Information

Executive Order 20-05

  • Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-05 prohibiting providers of essential utility services including broadband and telecom from discontinuing service to any customer during the public health emergency. if you’re a provider that would like to include additional information, please contact nlc@ocra.in.gov.

Indiana Public WIFI Sites:

  • This map provides public WIFI locations in the state of Indiana. These sources include the following: public schools, public libraries, internet service providers, higher education, and other public locations.