Overview of the Capital Projects Fund (CPF)
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided a total of $10 billion to the Capital Projects Fund (CPF), which will be used across the country but especially in rural America, Tribal communities, and low- and moderate-income communities. The Commonwealth expects to receive approximately $175 million from the Capital Projects Fund to support access to high-speed, reliable Internet infrastructure. The Massachusetts CPF Program is being administered by the Executive Office of Economic Development (EOED) and Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech).
The Commonwealth has received approval for $145 million for the Broadband Infrastructure and Gap Networks Grant Program. This is a competitive program that aims to address gaps in broadband infrastructure and provide internet service that is scalable to deliver symmetrical speeds of 100/100 Mbps upon project completion. This plan reflects 83% of Massachusetts’ total CPF allocations.
A further $21.6 million has been approved for the Residential Internet Audit and Upgrade Program, which reflects 12% of the Commonwealth's total CPF allocations. This is a grant program that aims to remove barriers to reliable residential broadband service by funding new WiFi equipment and installing new, upgraded wiring within residential buildings.
The U.S. Treasury has defined several eligibility requirements for the use of Capital Project Fund grants. For a capital project to be an eligible use, it must:
- Invest in capital assets designed directly to enable work, education, and health monitoring;
- Address a critical need that resulted from or was made apparent or exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health emergency; and
- Address a critical need of the community to be served by it.
The Capital Projects Fund Guidance identifies the following to be eligible uses of Capital Projects Fund grant funding:
- Broadband Infrastructure Projects: the construction of broadband infrastructure designed to deliver service that reliably meets or exceeds symmetrical speeds of 100Mbps to ensure that communities have future-proof infrastructure to serve their long-term needs.
- Digital Connectivity Technology Projects: the purchase or installation of devices and equipment (e.g. laptops, tablets, desktop personal computers, and public Wi-Fi equipment) that will facilitate broadband internet access in communities where affordability is a barrier.
- Multi-Purpose Community Facility Projects: the construction or improvement of buildings designed to jointly and directly enable work, education, and health monitoring located in communities with a critical need.
- Case-by-Case Review: In addition to the eligible Capital Projects identified above, recipients may propose a different use of funds that meet the statutory criteria. Recipients will be required to demonstrate that any such projects satisfy the eligibility criteria defined in the Capital Projects Fund Guidance.