Program 101

Program Status: FY2015 Application window closed
Application Deadline: February 17, 2015. Awards were announced July 20, 2015; see the list of awardees here.  Those interested in applying for the program in FY 2016 should monitor this page and/or sign up for email notifications through the Email (Gov Delivery) service on the top right corner of this page.
Noice of Solicitation of Application (pdf) | December 17, 2014

What does this program do?
This program helps fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for private sector providers to deliver service.

Who may apply?
Eligible applicants include:

What is an eligible area?
Rural areas that lack any existing broadband speed of at least 3 Mbps (download plus upload) is eligible.  

  • The Application Guide provides guidance on rural areas currently eligible for Community Connect Grants
  • Mapping Tool provides information on what counts as rural areas and also the existing Rural Utilities Services borrowers and grantees.

How may the funds be used?

  • The construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land or buildings used to deploy broadband service for:
    • all residential and business customers located within the Proposed Funded Service Area (PFSA)
    • all participating critical community facilities (such as public schools, fire stations, and public libraries)
  • The cost of providing broadband service free of charge to the critical community facilities for 2 years
  • Less than 10% of the grant amount or upto $150,000 may be used for the improvement, expansion, construction or acquisition of a community center that provides online access to the public

Are there other grant requirements?

  • Buildings constructed with grant funds must be located on property owned by the awardee
  • Leasing expenses will only be covered through the advance of funds period included in the award documents
  • Grantees must have legal authority to provide, construct, operate and maintain the proposed facilities or services
  • Partnerships with other federal, state, local, private and non-profit entities are encouraged
  • For additional detail see Code of Federal Regulations 7 CFR, Part 1739

Are there any other grant requirements?

  • Matching funds of at least 15% from non-federal sources are required and can be used for operating costs

How do we get started?

  • Applications for this program are serviced by RUS national office staff
  • For Program Resources please refer the "Forms and Resources" Tab

Who can answer questions about this program?

What governs this program?

Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
The Community Connect program helps rural communities extend access where broadband service is least likely to be commercially available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for people and businesses. The projects funded by these grants help rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the Internet for jobs, education, healthcare, public safety and community development.

NOTE: Program details may change over time. Before you begin an application, please confirm you have the most current information by contacting a General Field Representative who serves your area for assistance or consult the program Instructions listed in the section above titled "What Governs this Program?"

Forms & Resources

NOTE: Please contact the Loan Origination and Approval Division by calling (202) 720-0800; or contact the General Field Representative (GFR) that serves your area before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in your application.

Preliminary Actions Required

To complete an application for this program, you must be pre-registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) and also have a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number. Neither of these applications cost money, but they can take time so be sure to get this taken care of right away. If you are already registered with these systems, you do not need to do it again.

Resources:

  • SF 424 | 2016 version (pdf)
  • 2015 Community Connect Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)
  • Community Connect Grant Program Application Guide (pdf)
  • Schedule H-1 | Pro Forma 5-Year Financial Forecast Single Application (pdf)
  • Schedule H-2 | Pro Forma 5-Year Financial Forecast Multiple Applications (pdf)
  • The RUS Broadband Mapping Tool is now available for Community Connect Grant Program applicants to create maps of their proposed funded service area. Create your proposed funded service area map using the RUS Broadband Mapping Tool.
  • 2015 Community Connect Program Presentation (pdf)
  • Community Connect Grant Program Standard Grant Agreement (pdf)
  • Community Connect Factsheet (pdf)
  • Federal Register Final Rule - May 3, 2013 - The purpose of this regulatory change is to provide the Agency the ability to target limited resources to geographical as well as technological areas of need.
  • Additional information about submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is available on the USDA FOIA website at: http://www.dm.usda.gov/foia.htm
  • Corporations that have been convicted of a felony (or had an officer or agent acting on behalf of the corporation convicted of a felony) within the past 24 months are not eligible. Any Corporation that has any unpaid federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, is not eligible for financial assistance provided with funds appropriated by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012, P.L. No. 112-55.
  • All applicants must have a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. Any organization that applies for a Community Connect Broadband grant must provide their DUNS number on the SF-424, "Application for Federal Assistance." DUNS numbers are available without charge. See DUNS Q&A.
  • Applicants wishing to apply for a Community Connect broadband grant online can do so at www.grants.gov.  Your organization must have a DUNS number and complete the SAM registration process before submitting an application online.

 Awards by State

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine

Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon

Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Territories:
American Samoa
Guam
Puerto Rico
Virgin Islands

 Awards by Year

2015

2013
2012
2011
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002