USDA to open the application window for the second round of ReConnect Program funding
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced USDA will begin taking applications for the second round of $550 million in ReConnect Program loan and grant funding on Jan. 31. These funds will enable the federal government to continue to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second download and 1 megabit per second upload. Beginning Friday, ReConnect funding applications can be submitted at http://www.usda.gov/reconnect.
“Reliable, high-speed broadband e-Connectivity is critical for economic prosperity and quality of life, from education to health care to agriculture to manufacturing and beyond,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, we at USDA are very excited to begin accepting applications for the second round of funds totaling $550 million for this innovative program, which will bring critical infrastructure investments to even more homes, farms, ranches, schools and health care sites in rural America.”
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. Through the ReConnect Program, USDA is making available approximately $200 million for grants, as well as up to $200 million for loan and grant combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans. 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.
To assist potential providers with their applications, USDA is hosting technical assistance and training webinars across the country. To see an updated list of dates and locations, or to register for a workshop or webinar, visit http://www.usda.gov/reconnect/events.
So far in round one of the program, USDA has announced $343,429,703 in grant and loan funding for high-speed broadband infrastructure. The funded service areas include a total of 79,534 rural households. USDA will continue to announce round one investment over the course of the coming weeks. To see latest investment information, visit http://www.usda.gov/reconnect/awardees.
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