Advisory Commission Members

  • Senators Dan Salomon
  • Jason Ellsworth
  • Janet Ellis
  • Representatives Mike Hopkins
  • Ed Buttrey
  • Katie Sullivan
  • Director Misty Ann Giles
  • Director Scott Osterman
  • Director Scott Sales

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Broadband - Connect MT and Communications Advisory Commission

The 2021 Legislature passed and Governor Gianforte signed SB297 creating the ConnectMT Act. The Department of Commerce is responsible for establishing and administering the broadband infrastructure deployment program and is responsible for receiving and reviewing responsive proposals and awarding contracts. Before awarding any contracts, they must be reviewed by the Communications Advisory Commission created by HB632 to oversee Montana's American Rescue Plan Act dollars. The Governor must also approve any proposal recommended for funding by the Department. The Communications Commission's first meeting must be held by June 11th as required by law and future meetings will be noticed on this website. Commission members are anticipated to be announced before the first meeting.

Commerce is currently gathering mapping information in coordination with the State Library and other providers. Working with the Commission and the Governor's Office, Commerce will develop the open process for submission of proposals for funding required in SB297. Eligible providers may be awarded funding for projects in unserved, underserved or frontier areas. The Department is also in the process of hiring broadband deployment experts to staff the Broadband Task Force within Commerce. Please check back for more information as those jobs are posted on the State's recruitment website.

SB 297 defines Frontier and Unserved areas, and HB632 defines Underserved areas:

"Frontier area" means an area where there is no or extremely limited terrestrial broadband service.

"Unserved area" means a project area where at least 10% of delivery points have no access to broadband service or have no access to services operating with a download speed of at least 25 megabits per second and upload speed of at least 10 megabits per second with low latency.

"Underserved area" means an area where at least 10% of the delivery points have no access to broadband service offered with a download speed range of at least 100 megabits per second and an upload speed of at least 20 megabits per second or less with low latency.

Those interested in potentially submitting proposals are encouraged to review both SB297 and HB632 and to check this website often for updates on program development and Commission meetings.