(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced today his agency’s intent to solicit an initial round of grant applications totaling $120 million for broadband infrastructure projects as part of the Bringing Online Opportunities to Texas (BOOT) program.
The BOOT program will support broadband infrastructure projects in eligible areas that bring reliable, affordable internet service to communities in need.
“This is an important step that my agency is taking to fulfill our legislative directive to connect every Texan to broadband service,” Hegar said. “Nearly 7 million Texans don’t have access to broadband services. That’s 7 million Texans who can’t access job postings, telemedicine appointments, work or educational opportunities from home. This grant process is a big start in bridging that digital divide.”
Today the Comptroller’s office posted a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and applicants have until March 17 to submit questions on the NOFA and allow this agency to make any necessary corrections to the solicitation through the addendum process. Applicants for the BOOT program can begin submitting their proposals April 3.
The NOFA was published on the TXSmartBuy website. Applicants also can visit the Comptroller’s Broadband Development Office (BDO) website for more information about the application process and guidance materials and to sign up for updates about future broadband initiatives.
Eligible broadband infrastructure projects must be designed to deliver, upon completion, broadband service that reliably meets or exceeds symmetrical speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps). Awarded applicants must also provide a universally available low-cost option for locations being served by the project and participate in a federal broadband subsidy program.
The BDO was established by the state Legislature in 2021 and housed within the Texas Comptroller’s office to help close the digital divide in Texas. The BOOT program is the state’s first competitive broadband grant program focused on last mile connectivity: connecting end users to high-speed internet.
Through the BDO, the state of Texas has been allocated $363.8 million through the federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund to carry out critical infrastructure projects related to expanding access to high-speed internet. BDO will distribute funds allocated to Texas through a multi-round competitive grant process, with the first round of funds totaling $120 million.
In January, the BDO published the Texas Broadband Development Map to identify eligible areas of the state for funding projects. Applications must only include unserved and underserved broadband serviceable locations in these eligible areas