A committee of state lawmakers and agency heads is now weeding through 169 applications from city and county governments, electrical co-ops and nonprofits vying for a slice of the $300 million in federal ARPA funds. They’re using a scorecard to rank applicants based on how many people a broadband project will cover and whether they have the operational and financial chops to maintain fast internet over the long term. Ultimately, it’s up to the committee which cities, counties and providers receive funding, said Jennifer Wade, the grants manager for the state Office of Planning and Budget that’s overseeing the ARPA-funded projects.
“It will be really the committee’s discretion as far as how much over-build [on top of existing high-speed internet service] will be allowed,” Wade said. “They are working through that.”