*Provided by the USDA
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On December 13, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.
USDA is making available up to $200 million in grants, $200 million in loan and grant combinations, and $200 million in low-interest loans. The application deadlines are:
- May 31, 2019, for grants;
- June 21, 2019, for loan/grant combinations; and
- July 12, 2019, for low-interest loans.
Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. Funds will be awarded to projects that have financially sustainable business models that will bring high-speed broadband to rural homes, businesses, farms, ranches and community facilities such as first responders, health care sites and schools.
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