Smart Rural Community Collaboration Challenge FAQs


The Smart Rural Community Collaboration Challenge is an opportunity for rural broadband providers to obtain up to $5,000 to deploy broadband-enabled solutions for economic development, education, energy, health care, public safety and other community-oriented initiatives.

But it’s not simply a challenge—it’s a collaboration challenge, because the best applications are not only about technology, but also about working with community leaders.

So, tell us who you are; who you are working with; and what you plan to do.

Describe the anticipated impacts that will result from your proposal, its costs and how it will improve life in your community.

Prize winners will receive double matching funds to complete collaborative undertakings that use local broadband networks to improve and advance rural life.

The full terms and conditions of the Smart Rural Community Collaboration Challenge are contained in the Program Guidelines, available at Applicants are advised to review those guidelines prior to submitting an application.

Collaboration Challenge FAQs

What is Smart Rural Community looking for?

Smart Rural Community seeks innovative, broadband-enabled applications that will improve agriculture, education, government, health care, and other services and industries in rural areas. Tell us about the application(s) and/or technology intended to be deployed, the purposes intended to be served and the underlying network infrastructure necessary to support the services. Describe collaborative efforts undertaken with other local interests to develop the proposal and the anticipated impacts of implementation.

Are there matching funds requirements?

Applicants must provide a detailed budget and schedule of anticipated expenditures. Applicants must demonstrate at least 50% (fifty percent) in matching funds from third-party sources; preference will be given to matching fund commitments from parties with whom the Applicant is collaborating.

How long should the application be?

Applications shall not exceed 2,000 words.

When are applications due?

Proposals must be received no later than December 31. Mailed proposals must be postmarked by this date.

Mail submission
Signed original proposals must be enclosed in a sealed envelope or package and mailed to:

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
Smart Rural Community Collaboration Challenge
4121 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1000
Arlington, VA 22203

Electronic submission
Applicants can submit electronically a signed copy of the original application. However, NTCA also must receive via mail the original signed copy. Applications that are submitted electronically before the deadline will be considered accepted even if the original signed version arrives after the deadline due to a mail or other delivery delay. Electronic proposals can be emailed to

Smart Rural Community is an initiative of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. Smart Rural Community comprises programming relating to and promoting rural broadband networks and their broadband-enabled applications that communities can leverage to foster innovative economic development, commerce, education, health care, government services, public safety and security, and more efficient energy distribution and use. Smart Rural Community hosts educational events for communications and noncommunications professionals, including government policy-makers; administers an awards program that invites and reviews applications of rural broadband providers; and provides resources to rural broadband providers to assist their achievement of goals promoted by Smart Rural Community. Smart Rural Community also publishes original research and white papers that investigate issues relating to rural broadband deployment, adoption and use.

For additional information, please visit