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Funding Opportunity: Expanding Community WIFI in Appalachian Ohio

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) in partnership with AEP Ohio, is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity through the Appalachian Ohio Emergency Response Fund to expand community WIFI access points in communities across Appalachian Ohio.

The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the inequitable access to WIFI across Appalachian Ohio and how important it is to education, work, and health. This funding opportunity will support the purchase and installation of new community WIFI access points in Appalachian Ohio communities served by AEP Ohio.

Community anchor institutions including libraries, schools, community centers, and local governments have long worked to address the connectivity gap by expanding access through the installation of WIFI hubs outside their buildings for community use. One way this is done is through the installation of outdoor grade access points to provide internet access to community members.

Access points work much like home WIFI, but extend coverage to provide access to a larger outside area. Access points connect to the internet through either an ethernet connection to existing service or by connecting to an antenna to get service directly from a wireless network.

This funding opportunity will allow Appalachian Ohio communities and organizations to expand community WIFI access, permitting more Appalachian Ohioans to access critical connectivity while also creating a long-term community benefit that can create additional opportunities.


AEP Ohio's service area in Appalachian OhioEligibility
Eligible applicants include public or nonprofit organizations, or groups working through fiscal sponsorship agreements with public or nonprofit organizations that are:

Application, Award, and Project Timelines

  • Proposal window opens Friday, June 26, 2020, with applications available here.
  • Priority deadline for consideration is Friday, July 17, 2020. Proposal submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis from this date onward until all funding has been awarded.
  • To the extent possible, funding and installation should be completed by August 31, 2020 to meet community WIFI needs during the 2020-2021 school year.

$35,000 in total funding is available. Grants will support the purchase of community WIFI access point hardware and related installation expenses.

Applicants will be asked to share:

  • Organization information, including the type of organization, project contact information, whether the organization serves communities served by AEP Ohio, and any partner organizations;
  • The community to be served by a new community WIFI access point;
  • How community WIFI will respond to community needs resulting from or exacerbated by COVID-19 and how many estimated users will benefit; and
  • A budget that includes installation, launch, and maintenance

Proposals may be submitted through FAO’s online application system here. Applicants will need to create a username and password to complete the application.

If you have questions about this opportunity, contact Kelly Morman, FAO’s Director of Local Impact, at 740.753.1111 or by email. To support this opportunity and others like it, contact FAO or make a donation here.