USDA Rural Development State Director for Hawaii and the Western Pacific Chris Kanazawa announced today that USDA is soliciting applications for grants to establish broadband services in unserved rural communities. Funds will be made available through the Community Connect Grant program.
"The Community Connect program serves rural communities where broadband service is least likely to be available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for citizens of Hawaii, American Samoa and the Western Pacific," Kanazawa said. "This grant can assist rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the internet including new educational, business and public health and safety opportunities."
Grants can be used to construct, acquire or lease facilities to deploy broadband to community facilities such as schools and public safety locations, as well as residences and businesses in the community.
Eligible applicants include state, county, city or township, Native American tribal governments, nonprofits, for profits, and small businesses. The minimum amount of grants awarded will be $100,000; the maximum is $3 million. The deadline for applications to be submitted is February 17, 2015. Last year, USDA announced new rules to better target Community Connect grants to areas where they are needed the most.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.