(1) The Public Service Commission shall establish an application process through which any county or municipality in the state may apply for financial assistance from the Nebraska Internet Enhancement Fund. The process shall allow the county or municipality to obtain a service provider for broadband or other advanced telecommunications services in an exchange or other area defined by the county or municipality where such telecommunications services are to be delivered at rates of service agreed upon between the service provider and county or municipality. The application shall state the projected cost, identify the service provider, describe the process for selection of the service provider, list terms and considerations of any agreement between the applicant and the service provider, and include other information as required by the commission.
(2) The commission shall not provide assistance unless (a) the service provider is an eligible service provider of telecommunications, video, Internet, or other related services as determined by rule and regulation of the commission and (b) the applicant can provide matching funds of at least twenty-five percent of the total projected cost.
(3) The commission shall establish a system to prioritize applications. Highest priority shall be given to applicants based on high-cost factors, including population scarcity and location remoteness. Other factors, including financial need, may be considered by the commission as deemed necessary.
(4) Funds for financial assistance to counties and municipalities may be distributed by the commission on and after January 1, 2002. Funds committed for future use are deemed to be used in the year committed.