The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development will begin accepting applications for the second round of ReConnect Program loan and grant funding on January 31, 2020. Up to $550 million will be made available nationwide to help build modern broadband infrastructure in rural areas with insufficient internet access.
Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers, and municipalities are eligible to apply.
Nationwide, USDA will make available approximately $200 million in grants, $200 million in loan and grant combinations, and up to $200 million in low-interest loans, not to exceed a total of $550 million.
Funds will be awarded to projects that have financially sustainable business models and that will bring high-speed broadband to rural homes, businesses, farms, ranches, and community facilities such as first responder sites, healthcare clinics, and schools that currently lack sufficient internet access. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1 Mbps upload.
To assist potential applicants, USDA is hosting technical assistance and training workshops and online webinars. To view an up-to-date list of dates and locations, or to register, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect/events.
Applications are due by March 16, 2020. For additional information, including details on how to apply, see page 67913 of the Dec. 12, 2019, Federal Register (PDF, 336 KB).
Questions related to USDA Telecommunications Programs in Oregon may be directed to John Holman, General Field Representative, 503-310-7692.Those with project proposals outside of Oregon should contact USDA Rural Development in the corresponding state.