FloridaCommerce Press Releases

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Announces More Than $247 Million in Funding Available for Broadband Infrastructure Expansion

Feb 28, 2023

Application Window for the Broadband Infrastructure Program to Open Beginning February 28 and Closing April 14

Tallahassee, FL – Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that more than $247 million in funding is available for broadband infrastructure expansion through the Broadband Infrastructure Program. The application window will open on February 28, 2023 and close on April 14, 2023.  

Allocated by the U.S. Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund, the Broadband Infrastructure Program aims to expand and improve broadband Internet infrastructure with a focus on workforce, education, and health monitoring. The program prioritizes unserved and underserved Florida communities in addition to communities with internet service speeds below symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100Mbps.

Eligible sub-recipients, including municipalities, county governments, non-profits, or private entities (such as Internet Service Providers), co-operatives, and electric utilities can find resources to prepare an application at www.FloridaJobs.org/Broadband.

To provide communities with information on the timeline, scoring criteria, and funding and eligibility requirements for the Broadband Infrastructure Program, DEO is hosting a Technical Assistance Webinar on Thursday, March 2, 2023, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. The webinar will assist prospective applicants in developing applications for funding. DEO staff will also be available to provide support throughout the application process.

Broadband Infrastructure Program funding is in addition to $400 million that is available through the Broadband Opportunity Grant Program to support broadband expansion in rural communities. On February 2, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded more than $144 million for 58 projects in 41 Florida counties for broadband internet expansion that will impact nearly 160,000 unserved residential, educational, business, and community locations through the state Broadband Opportunity Program.

Additional Broadband Internet Expansion Efforts

  • In November 2022, The Office of Broadband was awarded $2.4 million for their Digital Equity Planning Grant and $5 million for the BEAD 5-year action plan.
  • In October 2022, DEO announced more than $400 million in total is available through the Broadband Opportunity Program.
  • In August 2022, DEO hosted three regional workshops (Bartow in Polk County on August 22, Milton in Santa Rosa County on August 25, and Moore Haven in Glades County on August 29) to receive community input on rulemaking for the implementation of the $400 million Broadband Opportunity Program. 
  • In June 2022, DEO submitted the Florida Strategic Plan for Broadband to the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the President of the Senate. The Florida Strategic Plan for Broadband lays out the vision of the Florida Office of Broadband, the roles for state and local participants, and the strategies to undertake as Florida works toward a fully connected citizenry, both economically and socially.
  • In June 2022, DEO published the Faster Florida Broadband Map , which identifies census blocks as unserved, underserved, served, and no fixed internet service as defined in Section 288.9961, Florida Statutes. The map also identifies Florida geographic boundaries, community anchor institutions, grant funding opportunities, and information on the speed tests taken through the Florida Broadband Availability Map.
  • In December 2021, DEO published Florida’s Broadband Availability Map to identify where broadband-capable networks exist, where service is available to end users, gaps in rural areas, and download and upload speeds.
  • In September 2021, DEO launched the Local Technology Planning Team initiative using the Broadband Planning Toolkit developed by the Florida Office of Broadband. Local Technology Planning Teams are tasked with working within their communities to understand their current broadband availability, locate unserved and underserved businesses and residents, build partnerships with broadband service providers, and identify opportunities to leverage assets and reduce barriers to the deployment of broadband Internet services. 
  • In February 2021, DEO partnered with the Florida Regional Councils Association to host 10 virtual workshops where participants discussed broadband internet accessibility. Industry sector and community leaders within each region were invited to participate. These industry sectors included education, healthcare, private business, community organizations, agriculture, tourism, parks and recreation, economic development, local governments, and internet service providers.
  • In July 2020, the Florida Office of Broadband was established within DEO’s Division of Community Development to increase the availability and effectiveness of broadband internet throughout the state. The amendment of Section 288.9961, Florida Statutes, and creation of Sections 288.9962 and 288.9963, Florida Statutes, provides DEO access to federal grant dollars and assists rural communities with the expansion of broadband services, as well as provides directives for broadband mapping and the Broadband Opportunity Program.  

About DEO

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce, and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org.


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