About Us

The Office of Broadband works with local and state government agencies, community organizations and private businesses to increase the availability and effectiveness of broadband internet throughout the state, specifically in small and rural communities. Through these partnerships, the Office encourages investment in grant funding opportunities for the broadband program that focus on the expansion of broadband.

Directives

Under section 364.0135, Florida Statutes, the Office of Broadband is responsible for:

  • Developing, marketing and promoting broadband internet services in the state;
  • Creating a strategic plan to increase the use of broadband internet services in the state;
  • Reviewing and verifying public input regarding transmission speeds and availability of broadband internet services throughout the state;
  • Building and facilitating local technology planning teams, especially with community members from the areas of education, healthcare, business, tourism, agriculture, economic development and local government; and
  • Participating in the Federal Communications Commission proceedings that are related to the geographic availability and deployment of broadband internet in Florida. 

In state fiscal year 2022-2023, up to $5 million annually through the Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, administered by the Department of Transportation, may be used for projects that assist in the development of broadband infrastructure within or adjacent to a multi-use corridor. Priority will be given to Rural Areas of Opportunity as designated under section 288.0656, Florida Statutes.

State of Florida Minimum Internet Download Speeds Map

The Florida Office of Broadband has created a State of Florida Minimum Internet Download Speeds Map using Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data. Since January 2015, the FCC has defined Broadband Internet as download speeds greater than 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 3 Mbps. The map identifies the served, underserved, unserved and lack of fixed internet service in all Florida communities based on the census block’s minimum internet download speed.  The map shows the broadband internet speeds up to 25/3 Mbps of each census block.

Learn more about available FCC data: 

  • Data for the map is provided by the Federal Communications Commission from June 2019.
  • Minimum and maximum download speeds for each census block are reported by Internet Service Providers as required by the Federal Communications Commission on Form 477.
  • Data is for fixed internet service only. Satellite and mobile data is not included.
  • For a detailed explanation of broad deployment data, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s Explanation of Broadband Deployment Data
  • For information on download speeds in other states, visit the National Broadband Map.

*** The State of Florida and the Department of Economic Opportunity are not responsible for the accuracy of the information shown on this map.

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Award Update

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is a Federal Communications Commission program designed to close the digital divide in the United States by investing in the construction of rural broadband networks. Through an auction bidding process, more than $191 million over a 10-year period was awarded to 11 broadband providers in the state of Florida. View the Bidder Results Summary by State

DEO proudly promotes the RDOF program and Florida broadband providers' participation in the program; however, the funding is not awarded through DEO. If you have additional questions about the program, please contact the Federal Communications Commission directly. 

State and Federal Funding Opportunities

Entities interested in expanding broadband in their communities may apply for the following funding opportunities. The below opportunities are updated regularly.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Rural Infrastructure Fund

  • Program Website: Rural Infrastructure Fund
  • Program Overview: Facilitates the planning, preparing and financing of traditional economic development or nature-based tourism infrastructure projects that encourages job creation and capital investment in rural communities.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Eligible projects and uses of funds may include improving access to and the availability of broadband Internet service. Eligible uses of funds shall include improvements to broadband Internet service and access in unserved or underserved rural communities. Improvements to broadband Internet service and access must be conducted through a partnership(s) with one or more dealers registered with the Department of Revenue as a provider of communications services in Florida. Partnership(s) must be established through a competitive selection process that is publicly noticed.
  • Eligible Entities: Eligible Applicants are units of local government within an area designated as a Rural Area of Opportunity or a rural county or community as defined by Section 288.0656, Florida Statutes.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: Rural Infrastructure Fund base funding ($3.6 million) application cycle is open-ended through June 30, 2021, or until all available funds are awarded.

Florida Department of Education

General Resources - Internet

  • Program Website: General Resources - Internet
  • Program Overview: Internet resources for families and teachers to support students returning to school.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Internet access.
  • Eligible Entities: Teachers and families.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: No awards. Program is for limited-income households to access internet for student learning.

Florida Internet and Television (FIT)

Linking Florida

  • Program Website: Linking Florida
  • Program Overview: FIT members have programs to further bridge the digital divide by offering Floridians discounted internet service for around $15 per month.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: FIT, representing Florida’s five major internet providers, is finding ways to further provide essential internet services that are critical for students to continue another year of education — whether that is learning from home or completing homework at the kitchen table at the end of the school day.
  • Eligible Entities: Public housing residents, low-income veterans, seniors, students and low-income households may qualify.

United States Department of Education

Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies, Title 1, Part A

  • Program Website: Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies, Title 1, Part A
  • Program Overview: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title I, Part A, provides financial assistance for Local Education Agencies and schools with high numbers/percentages of children from low-income families to help meet state academic standards.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Minor remodeling, consistent with 34 CFR Part 77, to improve the academic achievement of students served by Title I. 7.
  • Eligible Entities: State/local governments and rural recipients.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: $16 billion for Fiscal Year 2020.

Promise Neighborhoods

  • Program Website: Promise Neighborhoods
  • Program Overview: The program provides funding to support eligible entities for broadband infrastructure, adoption and other broadband purposes.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband infrastructure (e.g., construction), broadband adoption, digital skills training, mobile hotspots and hotspot data plans.
  • Eligible Entities: Libraries, K-12 schools, higher education institutions and tribal entities.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: $16 billion for Fiscal Year 2020. 

Rural and Low-Income School Program and the Small, Rural School Achievement Program

  • Program Website: Rural and Low-Income School Program and the Small, Rural School Achievement Program
  • Program Overview: The purpose of these two grant programs are to provide poor, rural districts with financial assistance to address the unique needs of rural school districts that frequently lack the personnel and resources needed to compete effectively for Federal competitive grants and receive formula grant allocations in amounts too small to be effective in meeting their intended purposes.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband infrastructure (e.g., construction), digital skills training, mobile hotspots and mobile hotspot data plans, minor remodeling, consistent with 34 CFR Part 77, to improve the academic achievement of students served by the program.
  • Eligible Entities: K-12 schools and rural recipients who are under the local education agencies for the rural and low-income school program.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: $93 million for Fiscal Year 2020.

Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program, Title IV, Part A

  • Program Website: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program, Title IV, Part A
  • Program Overview: To help eligible Institutions of Higher Education to become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low- income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband infrastructure (e.g., construction), digital skills training, mobile hotspots and mobile hotspot data plans, minor remodeling, consistent with 34 CFR Part 77, to improve the academic achievement of students served by the program.
  • Eligible Entities: K-12 schools and state/local governments.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: $1.8 million for Fiscal Year 2020.

Strengthening Institutions, Title III, Part A

  • Program Website: Strengthening Institutions, Title III, Part A
  • Program Overview: To promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband infrastructure (e.g., construction), broadband adoption, digital skills training, mobile hotspots and hotspot data plans.
  • Eligible Entities: K-12 schools and higher education institutions.
  • Funding Amount: $1.2 billion for Fiscal Year 2020.

Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program, Title III, Part B

  • Program Website: Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program, Title III, Part B
  • Program Overview: This program provides financial assistance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities to establish or strengthen their physical plants, financial management, academic resources and endowment-building capacity.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband infrastructure (e.g., construction), broadband adoption, digital skills training, mobile hotspots and hotspot data plans.
  • Eligible Entities: Higher education institutions.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: Application period is from July 1 through July 31 of each year. $324 million is available for Fiscal Year 2020.

United States Department of Agriculture

    Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect)

    • Program Website: Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect)
    • Program Overview: ReConnect offers three types of funding options for broadband infrastructure to connect rural families, businesses, farms, ranches, schools, libraries, and public safety facilities to modern, high-speed internet. A rural area is eligible if it currently does not have sufficient access to broadband. The ReConnect grants, grant and loan combinations, and low-interest loans can be used to construct, improve, and acquire facilities that provide internet services to customers’ premises, with reliable technologies that are suitable for the type of rural community and the type of high-speed internet use.
    • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband Infrastructure (e.g., construction).
    • Eligible Entities: State and Local Governments, Tribal Entities, Commercial/Internet Service Providers, Non-profit Organizations, Small Businesses, Rural Recipients, Electric Utilities/Co-ops, and Financial Institutions.
    • Funding Amount/Cycle: For Federal Fiscal Year 2020, there is $555 million available. An additional $100 million in grant funding provided through the CARES Act.

      Rural Business Development Grants in Florida

      • Program Website: Rural Business Development Grants in Florida
      • Program Overview: This program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. Small means that the business has fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue.
      • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband:Technology-based economic development and acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings; plants, machinery, equipment, access for streets and roads; parking areas and utilities.
      • Eligible Entities: Higher Education Institutions, State and Local Governments, Tribal Entities, Rural Cooperatives (if organized as a private nonprofit corporation), and Nonprofit Organizations.
      • Funding Amount/Cycle: The maximum limit of any grant application request will be $150,000; however, smaller requests are given higher priority. There is no cost sharing requirement. Contact the Area Office for more information.

        Telecom Infrastructure Loan Program

        • Program Website: Telecom Infrastructure Loan Program
        • Program Overview: This program provides financing for the construction, maintenance, improvement and expansion of telephone service and broadband in rural areas.
        • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband:Broadband Infrastructure (e.g., construction) and Broadband Financing.
        • Eligible Entities: State and Local Governments, Tribal Entities, Commercial/Internet Service Providers, Non-profit Organizations, Small Businesses, Electric Utilities/Co-ops, and Financial Institutions.
        • Funding Amount/Cycle: For Federal Fiscal Year 2020, there is $690 million available.

          OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative

          • Program Website: OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative
          • Program Overview: This program provides loan guarantees to eligible lenders to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a public improvement, operated on a non-profit basis, needed for the orderly development of a rural community where the rural community is a city or town, or its equivalent county or multi-county area. The term “facility” refers to both the physical structure financed, and the resulting service provided to rural residents or rural businesses.
          • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband Infrastructure (e.g., construction) and Broadband Financing.
          • Eligible Entities: State and Local Governments, Tribal Entities, Commercial/Internet Service Providers, Non-profit Organizations, Small Businesses, Electric Utilities/Co-ops, and Financial Institutions.
          • Funding Amount/Cycle: For Federal Fiscal Year 2020, there is $500 million available.

            Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program

            • Program Website: Distance Learning Telemedicine Grant Program
            • Program Overview: 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.
            • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband Infrastructure (e.g., construction), Broadband Adoption, Digital Skills Training, and Others.
            • Eligible Entities: Libraries, K-12 Schools, Higher Education Institutions, Hospitals, State and Local Governments, Tribal Entities, Commercial/Internet Service Providers, and Nonprofit Organizations.
            • Funding Amount/Cycle: For Federal Fiscal Year 2020, there is $47 million available. An additional $25 million is provided under the CARES Act.

              Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program

              • Program Website: Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program
              • Program Overview: This program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.
              • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Public Computer Access.
              • Eligible Entities: Libraries, K-12 Schools, Higher Education Institutions, Hospitals, Public Safety Entities, State and Local Governments, Tribal Entities, Commercial/Internet Service Providers, and Nonprofit Organizations.
              • Funding Amount/Cycle: For Federal Fiscal Year 2020, there is $2.8 billion for loans and $32 million available for grants.

                Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program

                • Program Website: Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program
                • Program Overview: The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas.
                • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband Infrastructure (e.g., construction) and Broadband Financing.
                • Eligible Entities: State and Local Governments, Tribal Entities, Commercial/Internet Service Providers, Non-profit Organizations, Small Businesses, and Electric Utilities/Co-ops.
                • Funding Amount/Cycle: For Federal Fiscal Year 2020, there is $11.2 million available.

                  Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational and Applied Science Program

                  • Program Website: The Community Connect Grant Program
                  • Program Overview: The AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program supports grants in six AFRI priority areas to advance knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture. The six priority areas are: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Research-only, extension-only, and integrated research, education and/or extension projects are solicited in this Request for Applications (RFA).
                  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Examine the private and public returns to expanding broadband infrastructure into rural areas, the barriers to broadband deployment and adoption and the mechanisms that might ameliorate those factors. Examine the potential relationship between access to broadband and health outcomes, educational attainment, entrepreneurship, and job growth. Examine how broadband availability can directly or indirectly impact public-health crises including COVID-19, opioid abuse and suicide.
                  • Eligible Entities: 1862 Land-Grant Institutions, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, 1994 Land-Grant Institutions, For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Individuals, Native American Tribal Orgs, not Federally recognized Tribal Governments, Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed, Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed, Other or Additional Information (See below), Private Institutions of Higher Ed, Small Business, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
                  • Funding Amount/Cycle: A total of $290 million during Fiscal Year 2020 - 2021.  Application period is July 17, 2020 - July 29, 2021. 

                  Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Program

                  • Program Website: Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program
                  • Program Overview: The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The ultimate recipients repay the lending utility directly. The utility is responsible for repayment to USDA.
                  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband Infrastructure (e.g., construction).
                  • Eligible Entities: Commercial/Internet Service Providers and Electric Utilities/Co-ops.
                  • Funding Amount/Cycle: For Federal Fiscal Year 2020, there is $50,506,394 in loan funds and $10,900,000 in grant funds available. To apply, please contact a USDA Business Programs Specialist.

                  Rural Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program

                  • Program Website: Rural Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program
                  • Program Overview: The Business and Industry program bolsters the availability of private credit by guaranteeing loans for rural businesses. This program improves the economic health of rural communities by increasing access to business capital through loan guarantees that enable commercial lenders to provide affordable financing for businesses in eligible rural areas.
                  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Broadband Financing.
                  • Eligible Entities: Higher Education Institutions, State and Local Governments, Commercial/Internet Service Providers, Electric Utilities/Co-ops and Financial Institutions.
                  • Funding Amount/Cycle: For Federal Fiscal Year 2020, there is $1.3 million available. An additional $20.5 million is provided under the (CARES) Act.

United States Department of Commerce

Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs including CARES Act Funding

  • Program Website: Economic Development Administration - Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs including CARES Act Funding
  • Program Overview: Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs provide economically distressed communities and regions with comprehensive and flexible resources to address a wide variety of economic needs. Projects funded by these programs will support work in Opportunity Zones and will create and retain jobs, increase private investment, advance innovation, enhance the manufacturing capacities of regions, provide workforce development opportunities, and grow ecosystems that attract foreign direct investment.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Planning (e.g., feasibility), broadband Infrastructure (e.g., construction), broadband adoption, digital skills training, smart cities and district organization of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
  • Eligible Entities: County governments, private institutions of higher education, native American tribal governments (federally recognized), nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education, public and state controlled institutions of higher education, state governments, nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education, special district governments, and city/township governments.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: Due to the extraordinary level of interest in EDA's CARES Act Recovery Assistance there has been an unusually high volume of applications received. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their applicable EDA Regional Office representatives to discuss their needs and the availability of funds. Prospective applicants can find current contact information for EDA Regional Office staff at www.eda.gov/contact/. Awards range from $100,000 to $30 million. There are no submission deadlines for this opportunity.

National Science Foundation

Spectrum Innovation Initiative

  • Program Website: Spectrum Innovation Initiative
  • Program Overview: The Community Connect Grant Program has grants for financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide specific speed service to all premises in rural, economically-challenged communities where broadband service does not exist.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Public Computer Access
  • Eligible Entities: Incorporated organizations, Federally-recognized Tribes, State and local units of government, and any other legal entity, including cooperatives, private corporations or limited liability companies organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.
  • Funding Amount/Cycle: $30 million is available for Fiscal Year 2020. Awards range from $300,000 to $25 million. Application period is from March 14, 2020 - April 1, 2021.

The Internet and Television Association (NCTA) & EucationSuperHighway (ESH)

K-12 Bridge to Broadband Program

  • Program Website: K-12 Bridge to Broadband Program
  • Program Overview: The program has established a national framework of principles that enables cable broadband providers to work directly with school districts to 1) confidentially share information to quickly identify students without broadband at home and 2) enable the school districts to purchase internet service for low-income families through sponsored service agreements.
  • Program Purpose Specific to Broadband: Cable broadband providers that have committed to this unique initiative offer broadband service to 80% of U.S. homes or 110 million housing units.
  • Eligible Entities: K-12 schools. To search for sponsored service options to connect your students at home, visit EducationSuperHighway Bridge to Broadband.

For More Information

For additional information regarding the Office of Broadband, please contact Katie Smith, Director, Office of Community Partnerships, at 850-717-8445 or by email at Katie.Smith@deo.myflorida.com.

Other Broadband Resources

  • BroadbandUSA's Speed Demonstration Tool - BroadbandUSA's Speed Demonstration Tool is designed to help you make smart, strategic decisions regarding your data needs. The speed demonstration tool lists typical internet uses and the data required for those uses. 
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