With the September 30, 2022, application deadline for the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program just days away, it’s time for NTIA’s third and final post in our “Scoring Big” series. Our aim is to help applicants submit complete, informed, and high-quality applications. Previous posts focused on the review process and how to provide details about your proposed project. Today we’ll focus on the Budget Information section.
So here’s how to Be Complete and Score Big!
The Budget Information section is the third major section of the application. It is where applicants will have the opportunity to showcase their financial success as well as the sustainability of their project.
Another component relevant to this section is the “Letter of Credit.” The Letter of Credit is not required at this point in the application process, but a letter from a bank, whereby the bank commits to making a Letter of Credit available if your application is selected for award, is required. The objective is to review financials that show success and a pro forma to demonstrate that this project has sufficient resources to complete the project.
Also in this section, applicants will be able to identify whether they are engaged in a partnership for the project. If the partnership is informal, only the financials from the primary applicant are required. It is recommended, but not required, that the project include financials from the sub-recipient partners as well. If this is a formal LLC without history, applicants must send the financial details for the companies who are forming the LLC.
Finally, in this section NTIA will drill down into the project’s budget. Remember those 5 questions you were asked in the project section, those questions which might have prioritized your application for Programmatic Review? The first, adopting a fiscally sustainable middle mile strategy, is the one which will be described here.
Be Complete and Score Big
During merit review, applicants will be scored on how they describe the reasonableness of the proposed budget. What is the applicant’s experience with delivering a project of this scope?
These areas of consideration will be examined within the budget information portion of the application.
- Has the applicant demonstrated any formal or informal partnerships for this project?
- Did the applicant detail each area of your budget, using the templates provided?
- Do the budget details indicate the applicant’s financial ability to manage and operate a middle mile network?
- Has the applicant explained all costs? For example, an applicant may explain how they validated the cost of a tower or hut site or how they know that the price per foot of fiber is reasonable.
In summary, applications for the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program that are most likely to be successful will address the basics for scoring big:
- Focus on how the project will meet the needs the program intends to address.
- Submit all of the required forms through the grant portal.
- Provide complete, detailed information in each section of the application.
- Check documents for consistency and accuracy.
NTIA recently held a series of office hours sessions hosted by staff and subject matter experts, who answered questions from prospective applicants, with the intent to prepare them to write complete, high-quality applications. For more information about the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program Office Hours Sessions, please visit https://www.internetforall.gov/webinars