Program Status: FY2015 Application window open July 30, 2015
Application Deadline: September 30th, 2015.
Notice of Solicitation of Application, July 30, 2015
What does this program provide?
This program provides financing to telecommunications providers in rural areas where traditional financing is not otherwise available for the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service to eligible rural communities.
Who may apply?
To be eligible for a broadband loan, an applicant may be either a non-profit or for-profit organization, and must take one of the following forms:
• Limited liability company (LLC);
• Cooperative or mutual organization;
• A state or local unit of government
• Indian tribe or tribal organization
Individuals and Partnerships are not Eligible.
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.
What is an eligible area?
Proposed funded service areas must be completely contained within a rural area, as defined in the Application Guidelines, or composed of multiple rural areas, and meeting the below criteria:
• At least 15 percent of the households in the proposed funded service area are unserved,
• No part of the proposed funded service area has three or more “incumbent service providers.”
• No part of the proposed funded service area overlaps with the service area of current
The Broadband Mapping Tool provides guidance on what counts as rural areas under the program and can also identify where existing RUS borrowers and grantees are.
Communities where USDA Rural Utilities Service has previously provided funding for construction of broadband infrastructure may not be eligible. See map
How may the funds be used?
Broadband loans and Loan Guarantees provide funding on a technology-neutral basis for financing:
- The construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities required to provide service at the broadband lending speed including facilities required for providing other services through the same facilities
- The cost of leasing facilities required to provide service at the broadband Lending speed if such lease qualifies as a capital lease under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
- An acquisition, under certain circumstances and with restrictions
- For additional detail see 7 CFR 1735
What kind of funding is available?
• Direct Loans : Direct Loans can be either or a combination of:
1. Cost of Money Loans
2. 4 percent Loans
• Private Loan Guarantee
What are the loan terms?
- In general Loan Terms are limited to the expected composite economic life of the assets to be financed plus 3 years.
Are there additional requirements?
- Borrowers must have legal authority to provide, construct, operate and maintain the proposed facilities or services
- All facilities financed with the aid of federal dollars must be used for a public purpose
- Partnerships with other federal, state, local, private and non-profit entities are encouraged
Who currently participates in this program?
See our Borrower Directory for a list of current participants.
How to get started?
• Submit an original, one print copy, and an electronic version by the posted deadline of September 30th,2015 directly to the National Office at the following:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
RURAL UTILITIES SERVICE
LOAN ORIGINATION AND APPROVAL DIVISION
ATTN: SHAWN ARNER
STOP 1597, ROOM 2808-S
1400 INDEPENDENCE AVENUE, SW
WASHINGTON, DC 20250-1599
• Program Resources are available under the "Forms and Resources" Tab
Who can answer questions about this program?
- Contact our Loan Origination and Approval Division at (202) 720-0800
- Contact the General Field Representative who serves your area
What governs this program?
- This program is authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014, Title VI, Sub. Title A Sec. 6001 (2014 Farm Bill)
- 7CFR chapter 1738
- Federal Register Interim Rule July 30, 2015
- Federal Register NOSA July 30, 2015
- Federal Register Final Rule February 6, 2013
- Federal Register Interim Rule March 14, 2011
- Federal Register NOSA March 14, 2011
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?"