Apply GIS to broadband expansion efforts using federal funding

Person working on a telecommunications tower and a map with lines and dots

Provide affordable, reliable broadband for all

The latest available funding provides governments with a significant opportunity to expand much-needed broadband service to rural, underserved, and disadvantaged communities. Government leaders can use a geographic approach to strategically plan for needed broadband infrastructure, efficiently partner with providers, secure funding, and fast-track local broadband expansion.

Areas that GIS can support

Establish current service levels through data collection

To truly address broadband needs, you must first establish a baseline for current service levels; understand specific business, resident, and student needs; and identify where there is lack of service, unreliability, or unaffordability. Use GIS tools to identify service levels through accurate data collection from residents. Then validate reported internet coverage and speeds for a better understanding of current service across the community.

Identify where to invest and partner with providers

With advanced GIS analytics, you can identify statistically relevant areas to allocate resources, whether it's a business corridor, a neighborhood of K–12 students, or another critical region. After identifying priority areas, quickly present service providers with projects that increase customers, coverage, and profits while also addressing community concerns about speed, access, cost, and equity. A strategic plan and public-private partnership can help support and strengthen applications for broadband funding.

Achieve equitable and affordable access for all

As communities work to expand broadband coverage and promote economic mobility, each investment decision needs to incorporate equity considerations. GIS analytics and social equity tools can help identify priority populations and where gaps in broadband coverage occur so that investment can be prioritized in underserved and unserved communities.

Establish two-way communication with residents

Governments may not be the service provider, but feedback and concerns from residents often come directly to you. Better communicate your plans and activities to improve service levels with information hubs. Showcase performance dashboards of service-level improvements across the community as you build relationships with new providers and expand service. Use mobile survey tools to solicit feedback and validate coverage and speed from residents and businesses directly.

Manage the right-of-way to encourage sustainable investment

With an influx of broadband funding and infrastructure investment in communities across the nation, a geographic approach is essential to right-of-way management. To effectively plan broadband expansion projects, facilitate acquisition of property or analysis of existing rights-of-way, and improve coordination with stakeholders, organizations must have rights-of-way mapped and managed in GIS.

Products and ArcGIS Solutions

Esri technology supports broadband expansion efforts.


Available funding programs

Recent federal funding includes the largest investment in broadband deployment and expansion, with billions of dollars available across multiple new or hyperfunded programs.

Middle Mile Grant Program

This grant provides funding for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure to reduce the cost of connecting underserved areas to the internet. Applications close September 30, 2022.

Apply now

NTIA funding opportunities

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will fund more than $47 billion across four main programs that focus on equity, access, and middle mile.

More on NTIA funding

USDA Broadband ReConnect Program

This US Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant program provides funds for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in rural areas.

More on this program

Insight on how to use federal funding

  • How Dubuque is using GIS to make the case for broadband funding

    Local leaders surveyed residents and used advanced analytics to identify a project area, partner with providers, secure funding, and fast-track local broadband investment.

  • A blue-tinted aerial photo of a large urban suspension bridge across a still lake, overlaid with the ebook title in white letters

    Esri pilots broadband solutions with National League of Cities

    In a National League of Cities project, Esri worked with three cities to validate data and implement solutions that helped them better understand community needs and plan broadband expansion.

  • Placer County advances broadband strategy with American Rescue Plan Act funding

    To better understand the community's needs and identify gaps in service, the county used crowdsourcing tools to collect data and engage residents.

  • Online schooling prompts municipalities to map digital inequities

    Spatial analysis helps two of the country's largest school districts examine the digital divide and provide resources to low-income students when they were forced to study from home.

  • Aerial view of a town

    Assessing the digital divide in Wisconsin

    The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is breaking down barriers to broadband access. Staff are using GIS to compile authoritative and useful data to see where allocation of resources would have the most impact and empower all residents to reach their full potential in work, business, education, and more.

  • Large spool of cable in a rural landscape

    Bridging the digital divide in Ohio with GIS

    State leaders in Ohio are taking steps to bridge and close the digital divide, starting with an accurate picture of broadband access. With GIS technology, Ohio has increased insight into community needs and developed a comprehensive broadband strategy—especially for underserved and disadvantaged communities.

  • Aerial view of Loveland, Colorado

    City of Loveland fills broadband void

    In one year and with ArcGIS as a foundation, Loveland, Colorado, partnered with Schneider Electric to build a new fiber provider's infrastructure from scratch.


Additional Funded Areas

Explore how Esri technology aligns with other funding objectives.


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