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:
- Most State and local governments
- Federally-recognized Tribes
- For-profit corporations
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?
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the Loan Origination and Approval Division at 202-720-0800
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?"