The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has extended the application deadlines for the new Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect Program), which will provide up to $600 million in loans and grants to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas that currently lack sufficient internet access.
Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers, and municipalities are eligible to apply. Projects funded through the ReConnect Program must serve communities with fewer than 20,000 people and that have no broadband service or where existing service is slower than 10 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload.
In March, Rural Development will announce through https://www.usda.gov/reconnect the date when applications will start being accepted. The new application deadlines are:
- May 31, 2019, for grant funding
- June 21, 2019, for combined loan and grant funding
- July 12, 2019, for low-interest loans
Rural Development has pushed back the application deadlines to give potential applicants adequate time to access technical assistance from USDA staff and its partners. Applicants can request technical assistance from USDA by filling out a contact form.
For additional details about the ReConnect Program and how to apply, see page 5981 of the February 25, 2019, Federal Register.
Questions related to USDA's telecommunications programs in Oregon may be directed to Joe Bradley, General Field Representative, (208) 401-8090. Those with project proposals outside of Oregon should contact the General Field Representative serving their state.