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USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Finance Rural Broadband

Marlous Black
Release Date

USDA Rural Development State Director Vernita F. Dore 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 South Carolina do not have access to broadband,” said State Director Dore. “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

For more information about the Community Connect Grant Program and eligibility requirements, go to: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html

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

In Illinois, a $300,000 Community Connect Grant helped Mt. Vernon.Net Inc. create a broadband network serving rural rescue services, the police department, schools and residents. This network has increased public safety by enabling emergency services to receive real-time updates. It also has enhanced educational opportunities by allowing students to use online resources and has grown business opportunities by opening up e-commerce options to rural businesses.

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.