USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner announced today USDA Rural Development 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 New Mexico do not have access to broadband,” said Brunner. “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.
Here in New Mexico the Community Connect program was used to provide wireless broadband services to the communities of Manzano in the East Mountains and to Los Cerrillos, New Mexico southwest of Santa Fe. For two years both communities received free broadband internet access at their respective community centers. The residents were also provided free computer access and training at their community centers.
For more information, see page 75120 of the December 17, 2014 Federal Register.