Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced USDA will begin taking applications for the second round of $550 million in ReConnect Program loan and grant funding on January 31. These funds will enable the federal government to continue to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second download and 1 megabit per second upload. Beginning Friday, ReConnect funding applications can be submitted at www.usda.gov/reconnect.
“Reliable, high-speed broadband e-Connectivity is critical for economic prosperity and quality of life, from education to health care to agriculture to manufacturing and beyond,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, we at USDA are very excited to begin accepting applications for the second round of funds totaling $550 million for this innovative program, which will bring critical infrastructure investments to even more homes, farms, ranches, schools and health care sites in rural America.”
Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. Through the ReConnect Program, USDA is making available approximately $200 million for grants, as well as up to $200 million for loan and grant combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans. Funds will be awarded to projects that have financially sustainable business models that will bring high-speed broadband to rural homes, businesses, farms, ranches and community facilities such as first responders, health care sites and schools.
To assist potential providers with their applications, USDA is hosting technical assistance and training webinars across the country. “I am pleased that Denver, CO has been selected as one of the training locations. I hope interested parties will join us at the Westin Hotel Downtown on February 12 -13, 2020 to learn more about this great opportunity for rural America and prosperity,” said Sallie Clark, USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director. Register for a workshop or webinar, at www.usda.gov/reconnect/events. Find more about eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, at www.usda.gov/reconnect.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/co.