Frequently Asked Questions

ISP

A Subrecipient may submit for reimbursement costs incurred for materials and equipment in Subrecipient’s inventory after March 15, 2021, and used for the benefit of the Project after the effective date of the grant agreement, provided the costs would have been allowable if incurred after the effective date of the grant agreement.

No other costs incurred prior to the effective date of the grant agreement will be paid with funding from this award.CFR Guidance Links

The Department will provide the contract and unique project ID numbers.

No other costs incurred prior to the effective date of the grant agreement will be paid with funding from this award.CFR Guidance Links

A Subrecipient may submit for reimbursement costs incurred for materials and equipment in Subrecipient’s inventory after March 15, 2021, and used for the benefit of the Project after the effective date of the grant agreement, provided the costs would have been allowable if incurred after the effective date of the grant agreement.

Subrecipients are encouraged but not required to provide a preference for the procurement or use of goods, products, or materials produced in the United States.

 

Based on the SLFRF and CPF Supplementary Broadband Guidance published by Treasury, subrecipients receiving a fixed amount subaward are not required to comply with the costs principles and procurement practices of the Uniform Guidance.

The Department is currently distributing amendments to subrecipients, in order to update the Grant Agreement to reflect Treasury's guidance.

Procurement decisions are at the discretion of subrecipients who are responsible for verifying awarded contractors meet the applicable Grant Agreement terms and conditions.

Based on the SLFRF and CPF Supplementary Broadband Guidance published by Treasury, subrecipients receiving a fixed amount subaward are not required to comply with the costs principles and procurement practices of the Uniform Guidance.

The Department is currently distributing amendments to subrecipients, in order to update the Grant Agreement to reflect Treasury's guidance.

Procurement decisions are at the discretion of subrecipients who are responsible for verifying awarded contractors meet the applicable Grant Agreement terms and conditions.

 

No waivers will be provided by the Department of Administration. Costs incurred that do not meet the requirements in the grant agreement and U.S. Treasury guidance will not be eligible for reimbursement.
The Grant Agreement will include a Final Statement of Work that reaffirms the commitments made in the ConnectMT application. An awarded applicant will be given the opportunity to clarify certain project attributes such as the Project Schedule. However, an awarded applicant will not be able to change any project attributes that impacted the application scoring.
Generally, the contract will not be changed once executed. If subrecipients believe a change may be necessary, please contact the ConnectMT Program staff at Connectmt.mt.gov or call 406-444-4099.

The grant program requires that projects incorporate strong labor standards. The Treasury believes using these practices in construction projects may help to ensure a reliable supply of skilled labor that will minimize disruptions, such as those associated with labor disputes or workplace injuries.

Examples of strong labor standards include project labor agreements and community benefits agreements that offer wages at or above the prevailing rate and include local hire provisions.
Self-certification of the Davis-Bacon Act and a Project Labor Agreement are optional labor standards. However, if subrecipients elect not to implement these practices for their project, they will be required to report enhanced labor information and certifications when completing periodic reporting and submitting requests for reimbursement for labor costs.

The enhanced labor information includes, but may be subject to change in Treasury guidance:

  • If not self-certifying Davis-Bacon Act compliance
    • Number of contractors and sub-contractors working on project
    • Number of employees on the Project hired directly and hired through a third party
    • Wages and benefits of workers on the Project by classification
    • Whether wages are at rate less than prevailing
  • If there is not a Project Labor Agreement
    • How the Subrecipient will ensure the Project has ready access to a sufficient supply of appropriately skilled labor to ensure high-quality construction
    • How the Subrecipient will minimize risks of labor disputes and disruptions
    • How the Subrecipient will provide a safe and health workplace, including descriptions of safety training, certification and/or licensure requirements
Self-certification of the Davis-Bacon Act and a Project Labor Agreement are optional labor standards. However, if subrecipients elect not to implement these practices on their project, they will be required to report enhanced labor information and certifications when completing periodic reporting and submitting requests for reimbursement for labor costs.

Grant terms and conditions were established by the Treasury as a condition of the federal funding.

Subrecipients are encouraged but not required to provide a preference for the procurement or use of goods, products, or materials produced in the United States.

Self-certification of the Davis-Bacon Act and a Project Labor Agreement are optional labor standards. However, if subrecipients elect not to implement these practices on their project, they will be required to report enhanced labor information and certifications when completing periodic reporting and submitting requests for reimbursement for labor costs.

Additional training resources will be provided at a later date. please contact Department of Administration Broadband Program staff at 406-444-3104 for further assistance.
Failure to comply with relevant environmental regulations may jeopardize funding eligibility. You are required to demonstrate your compliance with all applicable environmental regulations. For example, you must provide the Department with documentation supporting DEQ concurrence and required permits were obtained prior to initiating construction. You will also be required to report any environmental or historical considerations identified during construction to the Department in a timely manner.

Once your request for reimbursement (RFR) is submitted, it will be reviewed by the Department of Administration. The Department may request additional information or supporting documentation from you before approving the RFR.

Once the RFR is approved, payment should be issued within 30 business days.

Reimbursement requests may be submitted on a monthly basis.

The Department will provide additional guidance on the request for reimbursement process. Generally, requests for reimbursement will need to be supported with sufficient documentation for the Department to evaluate that costs were incurred consistent with grant terms and conditions. Example documentation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Procurement documentation, including documentation required by 2 CFR 200.320, cost analysis, and contracts/agreements
  • Invoices supported by sufficient detail, including timesheets (as applicable) equipment use logs and receipts for reimbursable's (with no mark-up)
  • Proof of payment
  • If labor claimed, timesheets with supporting documentation for rate claimed; compliance certification for labor standards
  • Status of funds/budget tracking spreadsheet

Notify the Department of Administration about significant anticipated delays as soon as possible and submit a revised Project Schedule for approval.

Due to the State’s deadline to expend the grant funds, projects must be completed and all requests for reimbursement submitted to the Department by September 30, 2026.

Further, as noted in the grant agreement, all cost overruns will be the responsibility of the subrecipient.

Site visits will be performed by the Department or its contractors, including during the verification of project completion. Frequency of other site visits will be determined on a periodic basis considering project risks.

Awards

Unserved areas where at least 10% of the delivery points (locations) do not currently have access to broadband service of at least 25 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed with low latency. 

Underserved areas that have no access to broadband service with download speeds greater than 100 Mbps and upload speeds greater than 20 Mbps with low latency.

ConnectMT defines populations as underserved if available internet connection is under 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload and defines unserved if available internet connection is under 25 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.  It is the quality of internet you get at your home, business, or farm.  If you have internet to your home, you can test your current speed by using a “speed-test” available on any internet search site. 
Eligible applicants for this program are considered to be nongovernment entities with a demonstrated experience in providing broadband service or other communications services to end-user residential or business customers in the state.  This includes incorporated business or partnerships, Montana nonprofit organizations, limited liability companies, corporations, or cooperative entities organized for the purpose of expanding broadband access. A government entity is only eligible to apply as a partner with a qualified non-governmental entity. 
Under the ARPA tab of the website, click “ARPA Map” to view the areas currently served, underserved, and unserved in Montana.

The ConnectMT program defines a frontier area as an area that lacks connectivity services of less than or equal to 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

An ‘unserved area’ is defined by the program as an area that lacks access to low latency service of at least 25 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

ConnectMT awarded 55 projects.
Federal funds can only be used for the match portion if specifically designated for broadband deployment.
Capital expenses are Dollar cost to build the network asset (large upfront cost). Can include material, land, labor for construction and connection, engineering, permitting, upgrades and replacements, and construction equipment. Non capital expenses (Operational Expenses) are day-to-day (ongoing) cost to run and maintain a network to provide services. Can include power, network maintenance, middle mile and/or core Internet transit fees (if any), sales and marketing, customer support, rent, and other business operation expenses.
Eligible project costs include terrestrial capital expenses directly related to a qualified broadband project, including design, construction, engineering, make readies, permitting expenses and validation of service. Maintenance or operating expenses related to the project do not qualify as an eligible expense.
Ineligible expenses are outlined in the Grant Agreement and Treasury Guidance. Examples of ineligible expenses include, but are not limited to: video or voice services, advertising, general operations, non-broadband related liabilities of the applicant and marketing activities. Costs incurred prior to the execution of the grant agreement are generally not eligible for reimbursement with the exception of materials and equipment in the Subrecipients inventory.

General

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is a $1.9 trillion federal economic stimulus bill signed into law in March 2021. The Montana Legislature appropriated $310 million in ARPA funding. The ConnectMT grant program received 80 applications totaling more than $720 million and 55 projects were awarded funds.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law in November 2021, provides $550 billion in federal spending with a focus toward infrastructure. Under IIJA, Montana will receive a minimum of $100 million to improve broadband coverage across the state. Additionally, under IIJA, 286,000 or 27% of people in Montana will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.
The higher the internet speed to your home or business the faster your are able to download and upload.
Under the ARPA tab of the website, click “ARPA Map” to view the areas currently served, underserved, and unserved in Montana.
On the ConnectMT website, click the “Contact” tab to either call or email your questions. Additional FAQs are located under this section.
The Federal Communications Commission's household broadband guide provides the minimum upload and download speeds needed for light, moderate, and high household internet use. 
The 2021 Legislature passed and Governor Gianforte signed SB297, creating the ConnectMT Act. ConnectMT created Montana's first broadband program to award grants to internet service providers to improve broadband access across the state.

Map

The map will be updated periodically to reflect new awards of federal funding, as well as new construction to served locations throughout the state. Access the map.

Please check back on the ConnectMT homepage for announcements on any further mapping updates."
We have had some data reported with maximum speeds at 25/3 which is less than the benchmarks of 25/10 and 100/20 listed in the state statute (please refer to Map Description for more details). If nothing was reported to inform the map, it is assumed that it is “frontier” if we have no better data for that location.
The data that we have for broadband coverage is based on information reported by broadband providers that were able to provide this information for the first version of the map. This information was provided as either a boundary (GIS file – shapefile) or as an address list (CSV) that was matched to the locations on the map.If we have missed a served location and listed it as unserved, etc. then applicants may provide that updated list in their challenge process to the State so that we can include it in the review process.