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At a Glance

Current status:
Open

Eligibility

How to Apply

Connecting the Unconnected Funding Program

Greater possibilities exist for people with Internet access.

The Connecting the Unconnected funding program supports communities and local organizations working to build and expand Internet infrastructure to connect people living in rural, remote, and low-income areas. This includes initiatives such as community networks, municipal networks, cooperatives, and other forms of complementary access solutions.

Program Objectives

  • Strengthen communities and local initiatives that are connecting the unconnected
  • Develop new, innovative solutions to grow the Internet to reach rural, isolated, and low-income areas in all regions of the world

Focus Areas

  • Building new complementary access solutions: projects that focus on providing Internet connectivity to underserved or unconnected communities. This could be done through building community networks, municipal networks, cooperatives, and other forms of complementary access solutions.
  • Expanding existing complementary access solutions: projects that focus on expanding the connectivity of existing complementary access solutions to connect more people, improve existing connectivity, or enable access to new communities.

Eligibility

Funding to build and expand complementary access solutions to connect the unconnected is available to communities and organizations who are directly involved in the planning and building of local Internet infrastructure.

Communities and organizations that apply must have:

  • A clearly identified person or organization responsible for carrying out the project through its completion and reporting
  • Support from the local community that will benefit from the new or expanded Internet infrastructure
  • A sustainability plan to ensure that the infrastructure built can stay operational in the long term
  • The goal of connecting the local infrastructure to the Internet

In addition, in order to receive funding, organizations must have an official bank account in their name (based on their legal registration).

Application Review Process

Applications will be accepted from 1 February to 15 March 2024 and from 16 July to 30 August 2024. They are reviewed by the Internet Society, the Internet Society Foundation, and external experts to determine if they meet the eligibility requirements and are aligned with the focus areas. Please note that this process could take up to ten (10) weeks.

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria against which the staff will review eligible applications is: 

  • A clear and visible need for the suggested Internet infrastructure deployment in the proposed community—underserved or unconnected.
  • A clearly identified person or organization responsible for carrying out the project through its completion and report on its results.
  • Proven support from the local community that will benefit from the suggested new or expanded Internet infrastructure
  • A sustainability plan to ensure that the infrastructure built can stay operational in the long term
  • The goal of connecting the local infrastructure to the Internet
  • A project plan that lasts up to 24 months

Additionally, meeting the following criteria helps build a successful application:

  • Availability of local technology partners
  • General business management skills within the project’s team
  • Technical skills within the community
  • Availability of local social infrastructure (schools, libraries, hospitals, government facilities) 

Funding

Communities and local organizations can apply to either build a new complementary access solution to connect the unconnected, or to expand an existing one. The funding requested for each application is expected within, but not limited to, the following ranges:

  • $15,000-$40,000 USD to build new complementary access solutions to connect the unconnected
  • $5,000-$20,000 USD to expand or improve existing complementary access solutions to connect the unconnected

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online using the Internet Society Foundation’s grant management platform, see an example of the application form for reference. Only applications submitted through the grant management platform will be considered.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not meet eligibility requirements will not be considered. 

Reporting

The funding recipient organization or community will submit a narrative report directly to the Foundation using the online Fluxx platform halfway through the project’s length, and four weeks after the project is completed.

Questions?

If you have questions about this program or the application process, contact us.

If you’d like to learn more about building and maintaining Internet infrastructure, you can find everything you need to know in the Community Network Do-It-Yourself Toolkit.

Image credit: © Nyani Quarmyne