USDA-Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund 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 Alaska do not have access to broadband," said Nordlund. "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 countless services that reliable high speed Internet access 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.
In Alaska, a $554,140 Community Connect grant was awarded in 2012 to the Tanadgusix Corporation, an Alaska Native village corporation. The construction of the broadband infrastructure is now completed and 191 customers are now connected to the new network. The St. Paul community center, which holds 10 free access computers, became operational in January 2014. The critical facilities such as the fire station, police station, city hall, the school and clinic are now connected.
For more information, see page 75120 of the December 17, 2014 Federal Register.