The Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development https://www.rd.usda.gov seeks grant applications to establish broadband infrastructure in unserved rural communities through the USDA’s “Community Connect Program.” The program helps to fund the deployment of broadband into rural communities when and where it is not economically viable for private sector providers to offer the service.
The minimum grant amount is $100,000 while the maximum amount is $3 million. Applicants must be able to provide a 15 percent match on the desired grant amount. Grants are to be awarded through a national competition and prior Community Connect grants cannot be renewed but existing Community Connect awardees may submit applications for new projects.
Applicants can include state and local governments, federally recognized tribes, nonprofits, and for-profit corporations. Grant awards must be used to provide broadband service at a minimum rate of data transmission of 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream. Awardees must also use their funding to offer free broadband service to all critical community facilities and to a community center in their proposed service area for two years.
Potential applicants can participate in a free Community Connect Grant program webinar to learn more about the eligibility and regulatory requirements of the program and to receive guidance on how to submit a successful application. The webinars will be held April 5, 2018 and April 10, 2018.
The deadline to apply for grants is May 14, 2018. For more information, go to the March 15, 2018 Federal Register https://www.federalregister.ogv page 11494. The contact for the grant notice is Shawn Arner at 202-720-0800.
Go to https://www.rdusda.ogv/programs-services/community-connect-grants for more information on the Community Connect Program.