AN ACT TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL AND REVISED USES FOR FEDERAL CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUNDS, TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR DISASTER RECOVERY, AND TO MAKE OTHER REVISIONS OF LAW.
House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.
Makes changes regarding the supplementary grant process through the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program. Describes eligible projects for use in scoring a project application, providing for projects to include specified information regarding unserved households. Defines infrastructure costs and unserved household. Regarding forfeiture of the grant amount for non-completion, extends the date by which projects must be completed from December 30, 2021, to December 30, 2022.
Adds the following new content.
Amends GS 143B-1373, regarding the GREAT program. Increases the transmission speeds included in the definition of broadband access. Provides for eligible projects to include specified information regarding unserved households in the project area for purposes of scoring the project application. Expands infrastructure costs to include engineering and other associated costs with securing a lease to locate or collocate infrastructure, excluding actual monthly lease payments. Defines unserved household. Expands the scoring model for project applications based on cost per household. Modifies the base speed multipliers. No longer prohibits the use of Connect America Phase II Fund funds for matching.
Further amends GS 143B-1373. Specifies that a county's development tier designation in effect as of the beginning of the fiscal year applies for all grants awarded for that fiscal year. Effective on the date the act becomes law and applies to applications submitted on or after December 31, 2019. Makes identical changes to the statute as amended in SL 2019-230, effective July 1, 2020.
Requires the Department of Information Technology to provide a $15,000 supplementary grant award from the GREAT Fund for each grant project awarded for the 2020-21 fiscal year that has also received a grant from the Federal Communications Commission Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Action Phase I.
Amends Section 3.3 of SL 2020-4 (2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act) regarding the $8 million appropriated for the GREAT Fund for supplementary project funding. Adds that grants can be received as an initial lump sum of the total grant award less matching assessments if the applicant provides evidence of financial solvency and service in the state for at least three years, along with attestation that the project will be completed pursuant to the agreement.
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