SCS/SB 922 - This act establishes a grant program to award to expand access to broadband internet service in unserved or underserved areas of the state with speeds of at least 10 Mb per second download and 1 Mb per second upload. The program shall be funded from the Broadband Internet Service Fund established under this act, and shall be administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Applicants eligible for grants shall include corporations, businesses, partnerships, LLC's, nonprofit organizations, political subdivisions, and rural electric cooperatives. An applicant shall submit an application, and include certain information as set forth in this act, to the Department of Economic Development. The Department shall be responsible for receiving and reviewing grant applications, and awarding grants.
At least 30 days prior to the first day applications may be submitted each year, the Department of Economic Development shall publish specific criteria on its website used to evaluate such applications. Within 30 days of the close of the grant application process, the Department shall publish on its website the proposed geographic areas and internet speeds for each application. A broadband internet service provider that provides service in or adjacent to a proposed project area may submit, within 30 days, a written challenge to an application as set forth in this act. The Department shall evaluate the challenge, and shall not fund the challenged project if the existing provider commits to provide such service. If the Department denies an applicant as a result of a challenge, and such broadband internet service provider does not fulfill its commitment to provide service, the Department shall not consider another challenge from the provider for the next 2 grant cycles unless the failure to fulfill the commitment was due to circumstances outside of the provider’s control.
This act also sets forth an order of priority for applications. Further, no grant shall fund more than 50% of the total cost of a project and no single project shall be awarded grants in excess of $5 million. Any applicant receiving a grant shall begin construction of the proposed project within 18 months of the date the grant was awarded, unless federal guidelines provide otherwise.
This act requires the Department of Economic Development, by June 30 of each year, to publish on its website and provide to the General Assembly a list of all applications for the previous year, and certain information relating to such applications as set forth in this act.
This act is similar to SS/HCS/HB 1872 (2018), SS/SCS/HCS/HB 1456 (2018), HB 2256 (2018), and HB 2741 (2016).