About Us

The Office of Broadband works with local and state government agencies, community organizations and private businesses to increase the availability and effectiveness of broadband internet throughout the state, specifically in small and rural communities. It was established within the Division of Community Development on July 1, 2020. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is the lead agency to facilitate the expansion of broadband internet services in the state.

Responsibilities

Under section 364.1035, Florida Statutes, the Office of Broadband is responsible for:

  • Developing, marketing and promoting broadband internet services in the state;
  • Creating a strategic plan to increase the use of broadband internet services in the state;
  • Reviewing and verifying public input regarding transmission speeds and availability of broadband internet services throughout the state;
  • Building and facilitating local technology planning teams, especially with community members from the areas of education, healthcare, business, tourism, agriculture, economic development and local government; and
  • Participating in the Federal Communications Commission proceedings that are related to the geographic availability and deployment of broadband internet in Florida.

Funding Opportunities

The Office of Broadband will work with state, federal, individual, foundation and private partners to encourage investment in grant funding opportunities for the broadband program that focus on the expansion of broadband, especially in rural, unserved or underserved communities. These prioritized projects should include one or more of the following:

  1. Access to broadband education, awareness, training, access and equipment.
  2. Support for libraries, schools, colleges and universities, health care providers and community support organizations.
  3. Sustainable adoption of broadband in primarily unserved areas by removing barriers to entry.
  4. Investments in establishing affordable and sustainable broadband internet service in unserved areas of the state.
  5. Development of applications, programs and services.These should include, but not be limited to telework, telemedicine and e-learning.

In state fiscal year 2022-2023, up to $5 million annually through the Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, administered by the Department of Transportation, may be used for projects that assist in the development of broadband infrastructure within or adjacent to a multi-use corridor. Priority will be given to Rural Areas of Opportunity as designated under section 288.0656, Florida Statutes.

Other Broadband Resources

  • BroadbandUSA's Speed Demonstration Tool - BroadbandUSA's Speed Demonstration Tool is designed to help you make smart, strategic decisions regarding your data needs. The speed demonstration tool lists typical internet uses and the data required for those uses. 

For More Information

For additional information regarding the Office of Broadband, please contact Katie Smith, Director, Office of Community Partnerships, at 850-717-8445 or by email at Katie.Smith@deo.myflorida.com.

Federal Funding Opportunities

USDA ReConnect Broadband Program

The ReConnect Program, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, has $550 million in federal financing and funding options in the form of loans, grants and loan / grant combinations to deploy broadband in rural communities where it is not currently sufficient.

Learn more and apply for the ReConnect Loan and Grant Program.

USDA Rural Placement Innovation Challenge

The Rural Placement Innovation Challenge, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, has $1 million available in grants for the planning and/or implementation of community planning to create places where people want to live, work and play. Funds can be used to help rural communities access planning resources to develop actionable placemaking plans, convene partners, identify community needs, and implement priorities to build rural prosperity. Planning and technical assistance that helps build capacity for broadband expansion is encouraged. There is a requirement of 15% matching funds and the deadline to apply is September 10.

Learn more and apply for the Rural Placement Innovation Challenge

An equal opportunity employer/program.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
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