HUD updated its National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on December 30, 2015 to clarify that NHTF money may be used for installing broadband infrastructure. On the same day, HUD also issued a similar FAQ for the HOME program. On January 7, HUD issued CDBG broadband FAQs.
As part of NHTF-assisted new construction or rehabilitation, the existing NHTF regulations allow NHTF money to be used to make utility connections from the property line to the adjacent street. In the new FAQ, HUD interprets internet connectivity to fit the regulatory definition of “utility connections.” The FAQ states that NHTF money may not be used for off-site improvements, including running broadband internet cable or wires to the project site.
The existing regulations allow NHTF money to be used at multifamily projects to construct or rehabilitate community facilities that are located in the same building as the NHTF-assisted housing and that are for the use of project residents. The FAQ states that NHTF money may be used to provide a computer room or a multi-purpose room that could serve as a computer room in a multifamily rental project, but cannot be used to pay for a computer room located in separate building. NHTF money also may not be used to purchase computer equipment or other computer-related furniture.
The uses of HOME and CDBG for broadband are more varied and include services such as digital literacy classes.
The NHTF FAQ regarding broadband infrastructure is on page 9 of the December 30, 2015 FAQ at https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/HTF-FAQs.pdf
The HOME broadband infrastructure FAQ is at https://www.hudexchange.info/onecpd/assets/File/HOME-FAQs-Broadband.pdf
The CDBG broadband infrastructure FAQs are at https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/4891/cdbg-broadband-infrastructure-faqs/