Telehealth services depend on quality broadband network communications. Recent legislation, executive orders, and agency funding commitments and grants are set to make a significant impact in terms of expanding and improving telehealth services and broadband availability and reliability in the southwest region and nationally.
In Round 2 of the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program, 280 applications from organizations across the nation with funding commitments totaling $165 million have been approved since late August of 2021. Applications approved in the southwest include 10 from Arizona totaling $5.11 million, 4 from Colorado totaling $2.95 million, 1 from Nevada for $995,087, 4 from New Mexico totaling $1.63 million, and 1 from Utah for $275,850. 
In Round 2 of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s Broadband ReConnect Program has approved grants and loans totaling $853 million for 105 projects in 37 states. Fiber-to-the-Premises projects in the southwest include Arizona (one 100% grant for $14.8 million), Colorado (three 100% grants totaling $22.9 million), Nevada (one 100% grant for $2.7 million), New Mexico (four 100% grants totaling $20.0 million), and Utah (three 100% grants totaling $32.6 million).  Applications for Round 3 of the USDA ReConnect Program are currently being accepted through February 22, 2022. Funding is available for 100 Percent Loan ($200 million with $50 million max per application), 50 Percent Loan-50 Percent Grant ($250 million with max of $25 million loan and $25 million grant per application), 100 Percent Grant ($350 million with $25 million per application, or $35 million for 100 percent frontier and remote (FAR) Level 4 areas), and 100 Percent Grant for Tribal Governments and Socially Vulnerable Communities ($350 million with $25 million per application, or $35 million for 100 percent FAR Level 4 areas). 
On November 15, 2021, Arizona’s Governor Ducey “announced a $100 million commitment to expand high-speed broadband to unserved or underserved areas of the state, making it one of the single largest broadband investments in state history.” 
Colorado’s Broadband Fund is accepting Winter 2022 Grant Cycle applications until January 15, 2022. 
The American Rescue Plan appropriated $10 billion to the Treasury to provide payments to States, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal Governments “to carry out critical capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).” “…The Capital Projects Fund allows for investment in high-quality broadband infrastructure as well as other connectivity infrastructure, devices, and equipment… In addition to supporting broadband, it also provides flexibility for each State, territory, freely associated state, and Tribal Government to make investments in other Capital Projects designed to directly enable work, education, and health monitoring and that meet Treasury’s other criteria…“  Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund allocations, announced in August 2021, to states in the southwest included: Arizona $190 million, Colorado $170 million, Nevada $135 million, New Mexico $133 million, and Utah $137 million. 
The FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit has been rebranded to the Affordable Connectivity Program and the program has been extended indefinitely under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 
Another FCC program, the Emergency Connectivity Fund, announced funding commitments on October 25, 2021. “The funding can be used to support off-campus leaning, such as homework and virtual learning, as schools and libraries continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”  Southwest state funding commitments include Arizona $82 million, Colorado $15 million, Nevada $5 million, New Mexico $19 million, and Utah $30 million.
The filing window for the FCC’s Rural Health Care program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company opened December 1st, 2021 and closes April 1st, 2022. 
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program awarded $477,000 to the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico  for a comprehensive engineering analysis for providing broadband services.
In August 2021, the Health Resources & Services Administration made 36 awards totaling $19 million  to improve telehealth in rural and underserved communities. Southwest region awards include a $475,000 Telehealth Technology Enabled-Learning Program award to University of New Mexico, a $325,000 Regional Telehealth Resource Center award to University of Arizona for the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center, another $325,000 Regional Telehealth Resource Center award to University of Utah for the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center, and a $350,000 Evidence-Based Direct to Consumer Telehealth Network Program to Ben Archer Health Center, Inc. located in New Mexico.
Do you know of other recent telehealth or broadband funding awards or upcoming opportunities? Please contact us at the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center with detailed information.1. FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program (Invoices & Reimbursements) https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program-invoices-reimbursements
2. Broadband ReConnect Program Fiscal Year 2020 Funding Opportunity Announcement Awards Report https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/foa_2_awards_report_508c.pdf
3. Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect) https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/10/25/2021-23128/rural-econnectivity-program
4. Governor Ducey Invests $100 Million to Expand High-Speed Broadband https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2021/11/governor-ducey-invests-100-million-expand-high-speed-broadband
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_S-Lqq-ypwNrvL2Pr4NCixHrNTCD7HV9/view?usp=sharing . Slides for Colorado’s Broadband Fund Winter 2022 Grant Cycle
6. Guidance for the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund For States, Territories & Freely Associated States, U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 2021 https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Capital-Projects-Fund-Guidance-States-Territories-and-Freely-Associated-States.pdf
7. Coronavirus Capital Project Fund U.S. Department of the Treasury Allocations for States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. August 2021. https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Allocations-States.pdf
8. FCC Eliminates Emergency Broadband Benefit Enrollment Freeze https://broadbandbreakfast.com/2021/11/fcc-eliminates-emergency-broadband-benefit-enrollment-freeze/
9. FCC ANNOUNCES NEARLY $1.3 BILLION IN FUNDING REQUESTS RECEIVED IN EMERGENCY CONNECTIVITY FUND PROGRAM SECOND APPLICATION FILING WINDOW https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-receives-13b-new-emergency-connectivity-fund-applications
10. Universal Service Administrative Co. Rural Health Care Program Funding Year Overview https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/additional-program-guidance/funding-year-overview/
11. National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program https://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2021/department-commerce-s-ntia-awards-first-grants-tribal-groups-seeking-expand
12. Health Resources & Services Administration FY 2021 Telehealth Awards https://www.hrsa.gov/rural-health/telehealth/fy21-awards