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The WNY R-AHEC’s Rural Broadband Healthcare Network (RBHN) is a consortium of eligible healthcare providers that are collectively taking advantage of significant cost savings on broadband services and equipment made possible by the FCC’s Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF).

The FCC’s Healthcare Connect Fund provides funding for high-capacity broadband connectivity to eligible HCPs (Health Care Providers).  Eligible HCP sites must be majority rural or part of a majority-rural consortium of HCPs. The funding can cover up to 65% of a facility’s broadband internet services and equipment.  For more detailed information, please find the FAQs for the HCF program below.

The Universal Service Administrative Co. administers the Universal Service Fund under direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  USAC reviews HCF funding applications, awards funding and ensures the funding is properly distributed. The link below is the main website for USAC.

As the consortium lead for over 170 health care facilities utilizing the HCF, we handle all of the administrative work for consortium members.  This process allows us to ease the Administrative Burden on our consortium members and saves organizations both time and money.

You can rely on the knowledgeable RBHN team to be a trusted partner that will walk your organization through each step of the funding process, from determining your sites eligibility to securing your site(s) maximum funding.

Additionally, there are no upfront costs or obligations during the funding application process and your organization will not be charged anything unless funding is received.

Public and not-for-profit health care providers are eligible to receive support under the Healthcare Connect Fund.  The following types of health care sites may be eligible for funding.

  • A post-secondary educational institution offering healthcare instruction, such as teaching hospitals or medical schools,
  • A community health center or health center providing healthcare to migrants,
  • A local health department or agency,
  • A community mental health center,
  • A not-for-profit hospital,
  • A rural health clinic,
  • A dedicated emergency room of a rural for-profit hospital
  • A skilled nursing facility (SNF), or
  • A consortium of health care providers (HCPs) that includes at least one of the facilities mentioned in the bullets above.

The HCF is applied for once a year during a set filing window.  Each filing window typically starts on December 1st and will run through March 31st of the following year.  Funding applied for during this filing window would start on July 1st of that year. 

The deadline each year to submit a funding application is April 1st.  Typically, most facilities begin contact with the RBHN team a minimum of 4 to 5 months prior to the end of the filing window.  However, please do not hesitate to reach out to see if we can accommodate any requests that do not fall within the timeframe described above.