Program Status: closed
Application Deadline: Closed
Applications are accepted annually, the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register indicates funding has been approved by Congress and signed into law by the President.
Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis.
What does this program do?
This program helps Public Television Stations serving substantially rural populations make the required transition to digital television (DTV) transmission. Funds may be used to acquire and install facilities and software necessary for the transition. While the FCC deadline for main transmitter signals passed in 2009, this program currently addresses the remaining digital broadcast equipment needs, such as rural translators. Grant funds may also be used for associated engineering and environmental studies.
Who may apply?
- Public television stations that serve rural areas
- Public Access Cable TV stations or Public, Education and Government access channels are not eligible
What is an eligible area?
- The project should serve a substantially rural area
- Check with your General Field Representative (GFR) to determine whether the proposed service area qualifies
How may the funds be used?
Grant funds may be used to acquire, lease, and/or install facilities and software for digital transition, including:
- Digital transmitters, translators, and repeaters, including all facilities required to initiate DTV broadcasting
- Power upgrades of existing DTV equipment--including replacement of low-power digital transmitters with authorized power level transmitters
- Studio-to-transmitter links
- Equipment to allow local control over digital content and programming--including master control equipment
- Digital program production equipment, including cameras, editing, mixing and storage equipment
- Multicasting and data casting equipment
- Facility lease costs for up to three years
- Associated engineering and environmental studies
- For additional detail see Code of Federal Regulations 7 CFR 0000
What kind of funding is available?
What are the grant terms?
- Matching funds not required
- Awarded on a competitive basis once a year
Are there additional requirements?
- Recipients must have legal authority to construct, operate and maintain the proposed facilities and the services proposed
- 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?
- Recipient Project Summaries of Fiscal Year 2012.
- Recipient Project Summaries of Fiscal Year 2011.
- Recipient Project Summaries of Fiscal Year 2010.
- Recipient Project Summaries of Fiscal Year 2009.
- Recipient Project Summaries of Fiscal Year 2008.
- Recipient Project Summaries of Fiscal Year 2007.
- Recipient Project Summaries of Fiscal Year 2006.
How do we get started?
- Applications for this program are accepted through your Telecom Field Representative
- Application deadlines are set each year. A Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) will be published in the Federal Register. Contact your GFR or check this program page online for updates.
- Program Resources are available online (includes forms needed, guidance, certifications etc.)
Who can answer questions about this program?
- Call the Loan Origination and Approval Division at (202) 720-0800.
- Telecom Field Representative
What governs this program?
- Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended in 7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.
- 7CFR chapter 1735.
Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
The Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program increases economic opportunities and improves the quality of life for families and businesses in rural America by providing loans and loan-guarantees for telecommunications infrastructure in areas where commercial capital isn’t available. The program helps maintain a seamless nationwide telecommunications network that also provides access to broadband for education, healthcare, public safety and jobs for all Americans regardless of where they live.
NOTE: Program details may change over time. Before you begin an application, please confirm you have the most current information by contacting your GFR for assistance or consult the program Instructions listed in the section above titled "What Governs this Program?"
Public Television Station - A public television station is a non-commercial educational television broadcast station that is qualified for Community Service Grants by the Corporation of Public Broadcasting under section 396(k) of the Communications Act of 1934.
Substantially Rural Area - In this program, a station that serves a city or cities in addition to rural areas is eligible to apply – however, the urban populations are factored into the rurality score. The rurality score is determined by a formula based on FCC broadcast coverage contours and populations of counties and cities with populations over 20,000 that are part of the coverage area. The application guide explains definitions and the procedure to determine score.