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USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Finance Rural Broadband

Name
Karen Lawson
City
Alexandria
Release Date
Dec 19, 2014

USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence W. Hawkins announced today that USDA is soliciting applications for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Community Connect Program grants. The program provides grants to establish essential broadband services in rural communities where it is currently not available.

“Many rural communities in Louisiana do not have access to broadband,” said Hawkins. “USDA’s Community Connect Grant Program ensures that rural residents have the ability to run businesses, get the most from their education, and benefit from the infinite services that fast, reliable broadband provides.”

The minimum amount of grants awarded will be $100,000; the maximum is $3,000,000. 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.  To view the rules, go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-03/pdf/2013-10502.pdf

Since its inception, the Community Connect program has funded 237 projects with investments of $149 million.

In Louisiana, a $724,000 Community Connect Grant helped Nexus Systems, Inc. to implement the West Carroll Parish Infrastructure project to provide fiber broadband services to underserved and unserved areas in northeastern Louisiana. The technology was a combination of microwave and fiber connectivity.  In addition to the jobs this project created, it also enhanced educational opportunities for students to use online resources and assisted local businesses with economic development opportunities.

For more information, see page 75120 of the December 17, 2014 Federal Register.

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.