Tracking Broadband RFIs/RFPs: Michigan ROBIN Grant Program Sets Mid-March for RFP Deadline; City of Joplin, MO finalizes broadband RFP

As an addendum to the Great Broadband Build feature, Broadband Communities has begun tracking broadband RFPs across various communities. This week’s edition tracks Michigan’s ROBIN grant program and the City of Joplin’s broadband RFP.

  • Broadband Competition

There are many requests for information and proposals (RFI/RFP) activity going on in various communities trying to enhance their broadband situation.

Michigan’s Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) Grant Program Sets March Deadline
The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office administers the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) Grant Program. ROBIN is a high-speed internet last mile and middle mile infrastructure competitive grant program with $238 million in project funds from the US Treasury as part of the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund. ROBIN funds internet service providers and public-private partnerships to expand broadband infrastructure to unserved areas. According to the site, applications for the ROBIN program will be accepted through the online application system linked below. The application window will close at 4:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. The primary ROBIN contact is Jason Guthaus, Infrastructure Program Manager with the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office. He can be contacted at

City of Joplin, MO, finalizing broadband RFP
Joplin, Missouri, officials are searching for broadband service providers. Previously, The City Council, according to a report in the Joplin Globe, approved paying a consultant to issue a request for proposals for internet service. The estimated cost for that work will be $358,928 for experts from Alvarez & Marsal Infrastructure and Capital Projects LLP to issue a call for proposals to develop broadband service. This is the second half of a two-part effort to identify what providers may be interested in providing expanded service in the city. City officials say several residents need more assistance or slow DSL or satellite service. The council approved the first half of the agreement in July to gauge interest. The total contract is $797,618, but it was decided to break it into two phases to allow advisers and city staff to manage the effort better. The first phase of the contract costs $438,690. In all, 16 internet service providers indicated an interest in looking further into providing service to Joplin.

Utah Broadband Center Opens Two New Broadband Planning Grants
The Utah Broadband Center (UBC), part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, announced that two new broadband planning grants are available to help local governments, municipalities, nonprofits, and government agencies develop plans to expand high-speed internet access and adoption in Utah communities. These grants are funded by the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the Digital Equity Act. The first grant is the Local Broadband Planning Grant, which helps local communities identify gaps in broadband infrastructure and develop a plan to connect unserved households. Funds may be used for research and data collection, mapping efforts, and community outreach, among other activities. The local program will become a part of the state’s five-year Broadband Plan that will address infrastructure needs and other broadband access barriers. The second grant is the Local Digital Access Planning Grant. These funds help recipients develop a five-year plan to address affordability, digital skills, and access to the necessary equipment to utilize online resources. There are many reasons why people cannot access digital resources, even when broadband service is available. The Local Digital Access Planning Grant helps identify and strategize a plan to overcome those barriers. Both grants are accepting applications through Feb. 2, 2023. Recipients are expected to complete their five-year plans by June 1, 2023, for those plans to be included in the statewide digital connectivity action plan. For more information about these funding opportunities, please visit Additional information about the Utah Broadband Center’s statewide outreach efforts and how to get involved can be found at or by calling 435-264-8880.

Nex-Tech, Butler Rural Electric Cooperative Win Big in Kansas Broadband Grant Program
Kansas awarded $44.5 million in broadband funding to nine providers in the third and final awards phase of the Kansas Capital Project Funds (CPF) Broadband Infrastructure Program. According to Kansas Commerce, the funding will serve 18,468 locations in 15 counties. What was striking about the awards was that large incumbents AT&T and Cox only got $2.2 and $6.3 million in this round. The big winners were Nex-Tech and Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, which raked in $10.8 million and $9.8 million. Meanwhile, the minor application was from WANRack in Johnson County, which will get $400,000 to provide broadband to the county, which now is 100 percent unserved. Funded by the $10 billion American Rescue Plan Act, the Kansas broadband program aims to serve sparsely populated areas of the state. The program will provide a total of $83.5 million in support. This funding will be complemented by $42 million in matching funds for a total investment of $125.5 million. It will provide connectivity to more than 24,500 homes, businesses, schools, healthcare facilities, and other public institutions.


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