Yes. There are a total of 15 points possible. Applicants with matching funds contributed from tribal/local government/school districts can receive up to 5 points; the remaining 10 points will depend on the size of the requested funding from the state and how much funding in match the applicant is contributing to the eligible project costs.
Eligible applicants must provide documentation that they are registered to do business in the state as an incorporated business or partnership, a Montana non-profit organization, a Montana cooperative association, or a Montana limited liability corporation and are in good standing.  A certificate of good standing can be obtained from the Montana Secretary of State.
The purpose of the award allocations is to deploy both middle-mile and last-mile broadband infrastructure to residential and business locations in unserved and underserved areas within Montana. Award allocations can only be used for middle-mile related costs if it is necessary in order to provide last-mile service.

Unserved areas where at least 10% of the delivery points (locations) do not currently have access to broadband service of at least actual 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.

The ConnectMT Program is technology agnostic and will not select an application based solely on the proposed technology solution. Achievable results are more important to provide the maximum possible service to the recipient.
Projects that provide technology solutions of 100 Mbps/100 Mbps or greater will receive priority of funding according to the program requirements.
Non-terrestrial providers will not be eligible to challenge census blocks unless they meet the criteria in the “qualified broadband provider” definition.
The ConnectMT program will coordinate its reporting of served locations with federal agencies, including the US Treasury Department, and US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on a periodic basis in order to meet requirements of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  However, the ConnectMT program does not control federal programs or federal agencies’ determinations of served locations.
The State is currently reviewing all map enhancement requests.
The map utilizes FCC data as provided by the NTIA National Broadband Availability Map website.
Yes, you can view these results under ARPA->Challenge Results
Only applicants can file a reply in the challenge process. Replies will be due 5 business days after the ConnectMT provides written notice to an applicant that a valid challenge has been made to the application.  Keep checking the ConnectMT website challenge section for public notices.
All maps, received applications, challenge applications, challenge responses, and other information related to challenges can be found under the “ARPA” tab "Internet Service Provider Information"
Applicants are encouraged to review the broadband map published by the ConnectMT program and should show due diligence in selecting unserved and underserved areas prior to submitting applications. 
Challenges are limited to eligible applications received by the ConnectMT program. The ConnectMT program will review challenges and responses received from the challenge process to determine whether an area or location that an applicant proposes to serve should be deemed ineligible for award allocation.  Applicants are encouraged to review the broadband map published by the ConnectMT program and should show due diligence in selecting unserved and underserved areas prior to submitting applications.  In the event that certain locations are deemed ineligible by the ConnectMT program, the applicant may be allowed to reduce its request for the specified project if the applicant deems it is financially and technically feasible to do so.  Adjustments to an application that are successfully challenged are only allowable at the sole discretion of the ConnectMT program.  Adjustments may only be allowed for precise funding that includes the last mile locations of the contested area. The determination for award eligibility is final once the challenge process is complete and a decision has been rendered by the ConnectMT program.  Award eligibility does not guarantee that a project will be funded due to priority ranking of applications and limited funding availability.
The minimum match must equal 20 percent of the total project as proposed.  If the proposed project is $12M total, the required match is $2.4M and the requested allocation/grant is $9.6M.
If you answered yes to the question "Do you have any documents considered trade secrets or confidential for this application?" the Submittable system will provide instructions on how to securely transfer your confidential files and provide contact information if you have any issues. 
The three (3) most recent years of CPA unqualified compiled, reviewed, or audited financial statements. If these are considered confidential, they should be marked as such.
Any service address (location) that was beneficiary to a federal award from the federal government where the provider is currently committed to deliver service at 100 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload speed with low latency is not eligible.  The federal awards include but are not limited to the FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) or USDA ReConnect program.  Service addresses where actual delivery speeds are less than 100 Mbps downloads and 20 Mbps uploads with low latency that received other federal awards which have completed construction including but not limited to Connect America Fund, or Broadband Technology Opportunities Fund are eligible for ConnectMT funding. Any service address that currently has 100Mbps download, and 20 Mbps upload with low latency is ineligible for funding.
No, the map is an estimate of broadband service.  If a provider who applied for funding requests to fund locations deemed served by the map, it is up to the provider to prove that the location does not receive the service that is reflected on the map.  However, according to Senate Bill 297 any project area that has less than 90% served may apply for funding to build out the remaining 10% (or more) of unserved locations in the project area.  The ConnectMT Broadband Map data was compiled from internet service providers in the state, as well as data compiled from crowdsourced information, and reports that were submitted by providers to the Federal Communications Commission.  Additionally, the state provided an overlay of areas where providers have been awarded federal funding to build services to the state standard of 100/20 with low latency.  These awards include the FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and the USDA ReConnect program.   This information was compiled by Lightbox Parent, LP under contract with the State of Montana. 

Yes, any eligible provider may apply to provide service to any unserved last mile location as long as it commits to offer terrestrial based broadband service at or above 100 mbps download speeds, 20 mbps upload speeds level service with low latency on a 24 hours, 7 days per week, 365 days per year basis (with accommodations for planned downtime related to maintenance and service, and unplanned downtime related to unforeseen events) in accordance with the Connect Montana Act as defined by Montana Senate Bill 297.  An incumbent service provider’s area is not “protected” from competition nor is it able to prevent funding from being provided to a competitor when it fails to offer and provide service to locations as defined by the Connect Montana Act. 

A location having service is defined as where the internet service provider delivers broadband service to a last mile site.  The “last-mile” means at the spot of the residence, business, or government customer; included in this is where service can be provided by either wireless means or fixed wired within 5 business days of service request.  Such service provision must not result in existing customers experiencing latency of data download or reduction of megabits transmission speeds.

The State of Montana has developed a guide for applicants’ reference during the application process. Reading the entire application guide is recommended. The guide can be found under the “ARPA” tab, clicking “Resources” under Application Process.
Yes. However, you should upload the P.E. Certification in Section 6.6 as well as elsewhere in the application as required.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P16/Section 6.6
No. Ineligible costs are not considered part of the total project costs.
Applicants should provide narrative discussion in their project financial plan as to why their cost projections are in alignment with industry standards and should provide detail as to the assumptions used in their estimates.
Proof of match must take the form of either: a statement showing funds available with a state or federally regulated financial institution; a notarized letter, letter of credit, or line of credit from your financial institution noting availability of funds; or the most recent 10-k that is filed with the SEC.
No. Eligible project expenses are those incurred only on or after the execution date of the allocation award contract. However, engineering fees, and other legal costs are eligible expenses subject to reimbursement.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P7
Yes. Upon application submission, you should receive an email confirmation.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P7
As applications are reviewed, if the ConnectMT office has questions about the content of your application or requires clarification, it will reach out to the applicant. Contact or lack of contact from the state is not an indication that an allocation will or will not be made.
The published scoring criteria can be found online here
No. However, you should be direct in answering the prompts as provided by the application guidance.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P9/Section 1.8

The Montana Department of Administration

Mitchell Building, 125 N Roberts St.

PO Box 200101, Helena, MT 59620-0101

You may include this detail, if desired, in the letter of intent, but it is not a requirement for the letter of intent.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P10/Section 1.8
Provide a narrative summary of relevant key staff resumes and an explanation of how your organization is capable of delivering services and maintaining infrastructure. Be sure you have explained how your organization is capable of seeing the project to completion.
See Q5 of the FAQs and page 10 of the application guidance. The letter of intent should include 1 to 2 paragraphs regarding the general funding needs and the total amount of funding being requested from the allocation.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P10/Section 1.8
No. All applications must be submitted via the application portal. 
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P7
Projects will not be defined by census blocks.  They are defined by the locations and project areas necessary to deliver middle mile and last mile broadband service.  The applicant must identify locations that will be served by the proposed project.
No. The project area may include areas that are not adjacent to each other. However, the State of Montana reserves the right to partially fund applications if it allows the project to remain financially and technically feasible.
The home-based business count is a determination made by the potential subscriber and the applicant.  However, a location can only be counted once.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P13/Section 4.1

You should provide a brief narrative that outlines your documentation process and includes images of the map with your overlayed proposed project area.  The map will also produce an excel file that you should upload to your application.

Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P14/Section 4.4

This should be a legal attestation by a Montana certified PE that your project is technically sound and can deliver services as designed and as estimated. This can be in the form of a notarized letter or legal document.
Secured funds documentation examples include a letter of credit, bank letter confirming funds, board resolution committing funds, or loan documentation.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P10/Section 1.9; Section 3.7
A Montana PE must review and certify the application and will serve as the primary technical contact for the application. Your application will not be considered complete if the PE certification is not from a Montana certified PE.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P11/Section 1.9
A list of incorporated communities can be found here.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P11/Section 2.3"
Interested parties can apply via the ConnectMT website. Navigate to the homepage and select to expand the “Apply” tab; choose “Broadband Application” from the dropdown menu, and you should be directed to the application website where you can register by selecting ARPA Broadband Infrastructure.
No. But you are required to be a participating provider in the Affordable Connectivity Program.  
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P18/Section 6.10
No. Project schedules should reflect all key planning, permitting, procurement, construction, installation, testing, and service activation milestones.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P18/Section 6.12
The financial plan represents a narrative overview of your proposed project budget.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P18/Section 6.12
The P.E. certification is not considered a replacement for the required narrative related to the technical expertise of the applicant organization.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P20/Section 7.1
Provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI) from your liability insurance provider or bonding instrument that will cover the period of performance. 
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P10/Section 1.9
There is no prescribed form for this certification.  The certification should be notarized.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P16/Section 6.4
The intent of this requirement is to ensure the equipment proposed can meet the basic speed requirements of the program.  Include detail in your narrative response details regarding how the design of the proposed infrastructure will support scalability. This information must be certified by a Montana Certified P.E. and can also be noted in the required P.E. Certification.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P16/Section 6.5
See Section 6.12 of the application guidance.  A pro forma financial spreadsheet is required and must provide a minimum of five-year outlook as part of the financial justification to reach sustainability.  Applicants may provide an extended analysis beyond five years, if desired.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P18/Section 6.12
Provide a PDF version of your route and service area map with your narrative description for Section 2.4.  Ensure the map has a detailed legend that identifies the different types of infrastructure (last mile/middle mile) to be installed and that the map includes boundaries, buildings, road/street names. or other features that clearly identify the project coverage area.
Applicable Application/Guidebook Section: G P11/Section 2.4