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STAKEHOLDER ANNOUNCEMENT: USDA Seeks Applications to Extend Broadband Access in Rural Communities

Roger Meeks
Release Date

 Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced today that USDA is accepting applications for loans and loan guarantees to extend access to broadband services in rural communities. 
The funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. (Broadband Program), which Congress reauthorized in 2014. Applications will be processed on a rolling basis throughout Fiscal Year 2019. Award amounts range from $100,000 to $25 million. 
The Broadband Program helps fund costs to construct, improve or acquire facilities and equipment to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. To be eligible for funding, projects must have a minimum rate-of-data transmission of 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream for both mobile and fixed service. 
Applications will be accepted immediately through Sept. 30, 2019. USDA will process loan applications as they are received. 
USDA encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB) to help improve life in rural America. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include: 
• Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America  • Developing the Rural Economy  • Harnessing Technological Innovation  • Supporting a Rural Workforce  • Improving Quality of Life 
 Applications must be submitted online at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rd-apply. Additional information is available on page 57406 of the Nov. 15, 2018 Federal Register.