NTIA Funds First Minority University Broadband Grants

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The Biden Administration has given out the first five grants in its Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) Pilot Program, which is one of many broadband subsidies under the Administration totaling tens of billions of dollars.

The CMC grants total -- to the penny -- $10,642,577.03, according to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), which administers the program.

The money will be used for equipment as well as information technology training and hiring for expanding high-speed internet access to minority colleges and universities.

The first five grantees include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs)

The CMC was launched in August 2021 with $268 million in funding.

“Communities of color have faced systemic barriers to affordable broadband access since the beginning of the digital age,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the time. “The investments we make as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program will help communities that are struggling with access, adoption and connectivity, and will inform our path forward as we seek to finally close the digital divide across the country.”

To be eligible for the money, a recipient has to be in what is called an "anchor community," which means that the median household income cannot exceed 250% of the poverty line.

NTIA says it is continuing to vet the more than 200 applications it received in the application window which closed Dec. 1, 2021. ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.