Program 101

To apply for Farm Bill Broadband Loans & Loan Guarantees funding, visit RD Apply, our newly developed, online application system. Additional information to assist applicants with their online applications can be found under the Forms & Resources tab.

What does this program provide?

The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (Broadband Program) furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas. For more information on other programs administered by RUS Telecommunications please visit : http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/all-programs/telecom-programs

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:
• Corporation;
• 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 or composed of multiple rural areas, as defined in 7 CFR 1738
• 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 RUS borrowers or the service areas of grantees that were funded by RUS.
 

The Broadband Mapping Tool to be used to draw applicant's service area maps.

Communities where USDA Rural Utilities Service has previously provided funding for construction of broadband infrastructure may not be eligible.

How may the funds be used?

Broadband loans 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 1738

What kind of funding is available?

Direct Loans :  Cost of Money Loans
 
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.

Who currently participates in this program?

See our searchable database for 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 20250-1597
•  Program Resources are available under the "Forms and Resources" Tab

Who can answer questions about this program?

What governs this program?

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?"

Printable Program Fact Sheet(pdf)

Forms & Resources

RD Apply – Online Application Intake System Resources:
If your company chooses to apply online, refer to the RD Apply Application Guide and Sample Board Resolutions
RD Apply – Telecom Customer User Guide
Telecom Board Resolution – ARR-Sec. Cert.
Telecom Board Resolution-ARR-LLC

Farm Bill Loan Program Hardcopy Application Resources:
If your company chooses to submit a hardcopy application, refer to the Broadband Application Guide and Supplemental Schedules.

The Mapping Tool is now available for Broadband Program applicants to create maps of their Service Areas. Applicants can create maps of their existing and proposed Service Areas by clicking here.

Those interested in receiving email notifications whenever a new Loan has been submitted and the Public Notice Filing has been published can do so by signing up for our subscription service by clicking here.

To locate the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Advance and Construction Procedures Guide (Non-ARRA) (PDF), please click RUS Bulletin 1738-2

Financial and Operating Report filings for Farm Bill borrowers must be completed online using the Broadband Collection and Analysis System (BCAS). Additional filing and technical assistance is available here.

FY 2015 Documents (For reference only) :

Notice of Solicitation of Application, July 30, 2015
• Recorded presentation slides on the Farm Bill Broadband Loans program webinar(pdf)
• Recordings:Part1:http://goo.gl/6JRmwz;  Part 2:http://goo.gl/yM2zTK
• Transcripts : http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/BroadbandTranscript_8.25.15.docx
• Farm Bill (FAQ's): http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/UTP_Broadband-FAQs-V2.pdf