USDA Window for Community Broadband Grants Closes May 14

Washington, DC

Posted on: Apr 03, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for broadband infra-structure projects in unserved rural communities, the agency said last week.

In a March 29 statement, USDA said it will accept applications through May 14 as part of its Community Connect program. According to the agency, grants from $100,000 to $3 million are available to state and local governments, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits and for-profit corporations. Applicants must be able to provide a 15 percent match on the desired grant amount.

"E-connectivity is essential to the economic vitality and quality of life in rural communities," said Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett. "Investing in broadband can strengthen rural economic growth and improve critical access to jobs, education, health care and social services."

According to USDA, the funds must be used to provide broadband service at a minimum rate-of-data transmission of 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream, which is the speed benchmark that the Federal Communications Commission has officially adopted for broadband connectivity. Awardees must use USDA funding to offer free broadband service to all critical community facilities in their proposed service areas for two years and provide a community center with free broadband service for two years.

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