FAQ

Broadband Innovation Fund 
Frequently Asked Questions 

Check back for frequent updates to this section as the Broadband Innovation Tour continues throughout the state!

What form of grant agreement will PCI be sending to the awardee to sign, and about how long after the award decision will this come?
A grant agreement will be executed soon after the awards are announced.

Are grants in the form of an agreement between PCI and the awardee, or is there any other organization or agency involved in the formal agreement or administration, such as DCEO or SBA?
The agreement will be between PCI and the awardees.

What form of documentation of  the commitment is required for “non-PCI funds” for the project, and does some form of such commitment need to be submitted before some or  all of PCI award payment is made?
A bank statement showing the cash on hand, or a copy of the application for other funds sought, or letters of commitment from those people will all be allowed. 

What kind of program reports and financial reports will awardees be required to make, how many, and on what schedule?
Monthly reports and financial statements between PCI and the projects being funded will be required through May 2013.

Are program and financial reports subject to audit by SBA, DCEO or other party, and if so, under  what circumstance and in what timing?
Awardees will be subject to audit by the Partnership for a Connected Illinois.

Are applicants subject to an “eligibility review” based on performance under grants or contracts with any other party than PCI?
Applicants are required to ensure that they are not on the Federal Excluded Parties list.  

When will funding be awarded for selected proposals?
Up to half of the funds approved will be allocated by September 29, 2012. Entities that receive awards will be required to submit monthly progress reports to the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, and additional funds will be allocated by December 31, 2012.

May the organization we're partnering with be outside the state boundaries of Illinois (i.e. Quad Cities, St. Louis Metro area, etc.?)

All funds must be spent in the State of Illinois. 

Can eTeams help pair us with providers? 

Yes! We can help you collaborate with internet providers in your region.

Do end notes count towards the 250 word count?

No.

Are any of the application questions weighted more than others? 

All of the questions will be taken into consideration in evaluation of applications.

Where is the funding for the Broadband Innovation Fund coming from? 

We received funding through the Small Business Administration for the development and implementation of a plan, in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, to increase computer adoption and usage across Illinois. The Partnership for a Connected Illinois is investing up to $500,000 into the Broadband Innovation Fund.

Although our project is sustainable, it may not have a "residents reached" or "computer trainings offered" statistic. May we still apply? 

Yes. Applicants need to provide measurable outcomes for proposed projects. Look for the "other metrics of sustainability" section and include what your outcomes will be.

Our proposed training program is slated to last a full year, instead of 8 months. How will this affect our application?

PCI anticipates awarding funding by December 31, 2012.

Will larger regional projects be in competition with smaller local projects? 

All projects will be evaluated equally, regardless of location or size.

Do these funds have federal ties that will impact us (matching requirements, etc)? 

The award is coming from the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. While there is not a matching requirement, PCI has included leveraging financial resources as an important criteria for the awards.

Is there a matching dollars requirement?

No, there is not. We want organizations of all sizes to apply, however we do ask for some kind of leverage. In-kind funds will be considered. We just ask that you leverage at the maximum capacity that you’re able to!

Will preference be given to eTeam proposals?

No, however eTeam coordinators are ready and eager to assist with applications!

Is there an implementation deadline?

This is a fast-paced program, and projects need to be completed in 8 months after awards are made. We’re looking for applicants who are seeking to do this work quickly and hit the ground running.

How can I find out about other groups in my community that my organization could work with?

Contact your eTeams coordinator (Clayton Black, Brad Housewright, Barb Webster or Ernie Sanders)! We will help steer “like” proposals together.

Will the grant evaluation be available?

Read the “evaluation and selection process” portion of the RFP. There are no “hidden criteria,” it’s all right there.

May we submit more than one application if we have a lot of good ideas?

Sure, but keep in mind all applications are weighted equally and one “sector” (healthcare, agriculture, etc.) won’t be given a preference over others. It’s important to make sure you focus on your strengths.

Are applications weighted for rural proposals?

No. We’re looking for both rural and urban proposals. This is a true statewide effort and we want everyone to apply. We’re excited to open the playing field and see your ideas.

Is this program aimed at finding ways to increase broadband usage OR promoting broadband network and speed improvements?

The Broadband Innovation Fund is about the USE of high-speed networks, not the network itself. We’re aiming for the application and use of planned or built broadband infrastructure.

Have any projects been pre-selected for funding?

Absolutely not.

Should we submit videos and letters of support?

This is definitely not required, but welcomed.