By now many of you are aware that federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
(HR1319) became law on March 11. A portion of these funds will be provided directly to
communities. The Department of Treasury is currently crafting the guidance and requirements
for implementing this historic stimulus package, and we anticipate their efforts to take at least
two or three weeks, if not longer.
Last week, via Zoom, I attended a summit meeting, which was a joint effort made possible by
Regional Optical Communications and Region 1 and Region 4 Planning and Development
councils. Also included in the meeting were liaisons from the offices of our Senators and
Representatives, and partners from utility, broadband and other interests.
Each provided insight as to how the funds should be used. Expectations are that the funds will
have to tie back to the COVID-19 pandemic and towns are awaiting further directives to that
As more information regarding these funds becomes available, another informational and
planning summit will be scheduled by Region 1, Region 4 and members of Region Optical
Communications (ROC). Federal representatives will explain the allowable uses for these funds,
plan for best uses and practices, and look to fund future projects that will benefit the needs of
our communities. In particular, Regions 1 and 4 will provide advice on the use of these funds for
the desperately needed proliferation of Broadband connectivity. We will discuss how these
dollars can best be dispersed in conjunction with the immense amount of work already planned
under the ROC initiative.