Are Applications Being Accepted?: No. The FY 2018 funding window closed May 14,2018. Applications submitted by the deadline are currently being reviewed.
Federal Register Notice of Solicitation of Applications : PDF
Announcement : Webinar Presentation (PDF) slides and recording link : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwtRQQ0pVhiVN7zJZAW3NYmbDopjbZb_4
What does this program do?
This program helps fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for private sector providers to deliver service.
Who may apply?
Eligible applicants include:
- Most State and local governments
- Federally-recognized Tribes
- For-profit corporations
What is an eligible area?
Rural areas that lack any existing broadband speed of at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream is eligible.
- The Application Guide provides guidance on rural areas currently eligible for Community Connect Grants
- Use our Mapping Tool to draw your proposed funded service area. The Mapping Tool also provides information on what counts as rural areas and the existing Rural Utilities Service borrowers and grantees.
How may the funds be used?
- The construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land or buildings used to deploy broadband service for:
- all residential and business customers located within the Proposed Funded Service Area (PFSA)
- all participating critical community facilities (such as public schools, fire stations, and public libraries)
- The cost of providing broadband service free of charge to the critical community facilities for 2 years
- Less than 10% of the grant amount or up to $150,000 may be used for the improvement, expansion, construction or acquisition of a community center that provides online access to the public
Are there other grant requirements?
- Buildings constructed with grant funds must be located on property owned by the awardee
- Leasing expenses will only be covered through the advance of funds period included in the award documents
- Grantees must have legal authority to provide, construct, operate and maintain the proposed facilities or services
- Partnerships with other federal, state, local, private and non-profit entities are encouraged
- For additional detail see Code of Federal Regulations 7 CFR, Part 1739
Are there any other grant requirements?
- Matching funds of at least 15% from non-federal sources are required and can be used for operating costs
How do we get started?
- Applications for this program are serviced by RUS national office staff
- For Program Resources please refer the "Forms and Resources" Tab
Who can answer questions about this program?
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the Loan Origination and Approval Division at 202-720-0800
What governs this program?
Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
The Community Connect program helps rural communities extend access where broadband service is least likely to be commercially available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for people and businesses. The projects funded by these grants help rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the Internet for jobs, education, healthcare, public safety and community development.