Definition of Broadband for Grant Funding Purposes

May 12, 2011

On May 4, 2011, The ConnectME Authority approved adopting the FCC’s seven tiers of broadband service as its definition of broadband, with emphasis on the ability to use applications that require lower latency (≤ 100 ms) such as: VoIP communications; VPN connections; streaming media; gaming; and other interactive services. Preference will be given to projects that will provide Tier 3 or better service.

As this currently applies only to unserved areas, previously funded projects would not qualify for grants to upgrade service.

Basic Broadband Tier 1 768 kbps to 1.5 Mbps
Broadband Tier 2 1.5 Mbps to 3 Mbps
Broadband Tier 3 3 Mbps to 6 Mbps
Broadband Tier 4 6 Mbps to 10 Mbps
Broadband Tier 5 10 Mbps to 25 Mbps
Broadband Tier 6 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps
Broadband Tier 7 Greater than 100 Mbps

The FCC tier system will give the Authority maximum flexibility, allowing newer, faster technologies to be recognized and encouraged. Projects will be “scored” based on the tier level of service provided. RFP responses can be ranked based on the tier level projected. This will be balanced against the cost of the project and the grant amount requested.