The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) through the Office of Statewide Broadband (OSB) is administering funding for the Connected Communities Grant Program (MD-GAPS).
The MD-GAPS grant program is designed to assist local jurisdictions, local community based organizations, non-profits, and anchor institutions in creating Gap Networks and Community Networks. These networks are designed to address the affordability challenge many low to moderate income households face in subscribing to the internet. Given their purpose, the grant opportunity will help communities close existing gaps and lay the groundwork for improved broadband access, adoption, and utilization.
This NOFA pertains only to the funding allocation for MD-GAPS and provides a preview of the application which will be available online.
A separate NOFA for the Digital Inclusion Grant is available from DHCD at:
Applicant Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible to apply, an applicant must meet one of the following criteria:
- be a local government (Counties & Municipalities);
- be a foundation, corporation, institution, association, or coalition that is - (i) a not-for-profit IRS approved 501(c) entity and (ii) providing services within the State of Maryland; or
- a community based anchor institution; or
- other community based organizations; and
- must be registered and, if applicable, in good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
Eligible Uses of Funds
The use of these funds are to make available equipment, instrumentation, networking capability, hardware and software, or digital network technology for
broadband services to covered populations at low or no cost. This includes but not limited to:
- The building and deployment of new gap networks/community networks at the required speed for covered populations.
- To upgrade or expand existing gap networks/community networks at the required speed for covered populations.
- To operate and maintain new or existing gap networks/community networks at the required speed for covered populations.
- Electronics necessary to deliver service to an end user including, but not limited to Optical Line Terminals (OLT’s), Optical Network Terminals (ONT’s), routers, switches, firewalls, wireless radio equipment, antennas, access points and modems and any necessary equipment shelters.
*Eligible projects must be designed to reliably provide a minimum internet connectivity of 100 Mbps down and 100 Mbps up with exceptions as identified in the application guide.
This grant program and its funding are purposed for the following covered populations who are most at need:
- individuals who live in a household with income less than or equal to 150 percent of federal poverty level;
- aging individuals;
- individuals with disabilities;
- individuals with a language barrier, including individuals who -
- are English learners; and
- have low levels of literacy;
- individuals who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group.
The Office will facilitate the award of financial assistance for up to 100% for the construction, deployment, expansion or continuation of community based gap networks. The maximum grant request amount is $250,000 and the minimum amount is $25,000.
Only applications that are fully complete at submission will be considered for funding.
- MD-GAPS program is a competitive funding opportunity and individual grant amounts may be reduced relative to requests and/or based on the impact of the applicant’s intended population and ability to deploy funds responsibly and as soon as possible.
- NOFA release: Friday, February 11, 2022
- Application submission to OSB via email opens: Tuesday, February 15, 2022
- Application submission closes: Thursday, March 31, 2022
- Funding announcements to be made on or before April 15, 2022.
All applications and supporting documents must be submitted via email to:
In addition to basic organizational information and completion of the application form, the following information and attachments will be required in order for an application to be considered complete.
Project Summary: The project summary should explain how the project will further the OSB’s goal of closing the digital divide and ensuring covered populations have access to no-cost or low-cost internet access. The summary will require the following information:
- Executive Summary
- Statement of Experience
- Network Design
- Community Profile
- Subscriber cost
- Potential barriers;
- Partners and local engagement;
- Intended outcomes and metrics;
- Funding Scope & Budget
All of the following attachments will be required in the application submission in order for the application to be considered complete:
- Completed & signed Application form
- Application requirements as mentioned above
- IRS Determination Letter of nonprofit status, if applicable
- Online verification of Certificate of Good Standing from the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation.
- IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification
- Dun & Bradstreet DUNS Number for your organization