Program 101

Program Status : CLOSED
Next application window will be from September 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017
Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA): PDF

Announcement : Webinar presentations slides (PDF) for the Community Connect Grant and Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program, Environmental Requirements.

Announcement : Webinar presentations slides (PDF) for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.

Announcement : RUS is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program (Broadband program) (NOSA). There will be two application windows for FY 2017. The first application submission will be from March 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017 and the second application window will be from September 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017. All applications can only be submitted through RD Apply online application system.

What does this program do?

The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (Broadband Program) furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas. For more information on other programs administered by RUS Telecommunications please visit :

Who may apply?

To be eligible for a broadband loan, an applicant may be either a non-profit or for-profit organization, and must take one of the following forms:
• Corporation;
• Limited liability company (LLC);
• Cooperative or mutual organization;
• A state or local unit of government
• Indian tribe or tribal organization
   Individuals and Partnerships are not Eligible.

Corporations that have been convicted of a felony (or had an officer or agent acting on behalf of the corporation convicted of a felony) within the past 24 months are not eligible. Any Corporation that has any unpaid federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, is not eligible for financial assistance provided with funds appropriated by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012, P.L. No. 112-55.

What is an eligible area?

• Proposed funded service areas must be completely contained within a rural area or composed of multiple rural areas, as defined in 7 CFR 1738
• At least 15 percent of the households in the proposed funded service area are unserved,
• No part of the proposed funded service area has three or more “incumbent service providers.”
• No part of the proposed funded service area overlaps with the service area of current RUS borrowers or the service areas of grantees that were funded by RUS.

Communities where USDA Rural Utilities Service has previously provided funding for construction of broadband infrastructure may not be eligible.

Please Note: In order to be counted as a provider for eligibility purposes, a provider must file a response to a Public Notice Filing for an area they operate in. Please see the Broadband Mapping Tool for more information and to sign up for a subscription to be notified when Public Notice Filings are published.

How may the funds be used?

Broadband loans provide funding on a technology-neutral basis for financing:

  • The construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities required to provide service at the broadband lending speed including facilities required for providing other services through the same facilities
  • The cost of leasing facilities required to provide service at the broadband Lending speed if such lease qualifies as a capital lease under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • An acquisition, under certain circumstances and with restrictions
  • For additional detail see 7 CFR 1738

What kind of funding is available?

Direct Loans :  Cost of Money Loans
What are the loan terms?

  • In general Loan Terms are limited to the expected composite economic life of the assets to be financed plus 3 years.

Who currently participates in this program?

See our searchable database for current participants.

How to get started?

To apply for Farm Bill Broadband Loans & Loan Guarantees funding, visit RD Apply, our newly developed, online application intake system.

Who can answer questions about this program?

What governs this program?

Printable Program Fact Sheet(PDF)

NOTE: Program details may change over time. Before you begin an application, please confirm you have the most current information by contacting a General Field Representative who serves your area for assistance or consult the program Instructions listed in the section above titled "What Governs this Program?"


Forms & Resources

RD Apply – Online Application Intake System Resources:

Farm Bill Application Guide
RD Apply – Telecom Customer User Guide
Telecom Board Resolution – ARR-Sec. Cert.
Telecom Board Resolution-ARR-LLC
RD Apply FAQ

Those interested in receiving email notifications whenever a new Loan has been submitted and the Public Notice Filing has been published can do so by signing up for our subscription service by clicking here.

To locate the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Advance and Construction Procedures Guide (Non-ARRA) (PDF), please click RUS Bulletin 1738-2

Financial and Operating Report filings for Farm Bill borrowers must be completed online using the Broadband Collection and Analysis System (BCAS). Additional filing and technical assistance is available here.

RUS Forms and Publications Link :


  • Effective October 18, 2016, all RUS equipment procurement will need to use the NEW unified Equipment Contract,RUS FORM 395(PDF).Webinar presentations for the RUS Form 395 are scheduled on November 15, 2016, and November 29, 2016, both dates @ 2pm EST. Pre-registration is required & included in the Webinar flyer (PDF).
  • Open Letter From Assistant Administrator(PDF) to RUS Telecommunications Program Infrastructure and Farm Bill Broadband Loan Applicants and Borrowers regarding guidelines for the program funding of CPE. CLE, and Premises Wiring.
  • Starting in January 2017, all infrastructure and broadband loan applications will need to be submitted to RUS through RD Apply , the RUS online application system. Please review the Open Letter from the Assistant Administrator
  • Open Letter From Assistant Administrator(PDF) to Telecommunications Loan Applicants and Borrowers regarding FCC Order on the universal service program for rate-of return carriers.
  • The Rural Utilities Service is pleased to announce that we have expanded our online mapping tool to now accept existing service area maps funded by our Telecom Infrastructure and Broadband Loan Programs. We sent out a letter (PDF) on April 20, 2016, informing all of our existing borrowers who are eligible to participate in this new effort.  You may access our Broadband Mapping Tool  in order to complete this task.

Interest Rates

Telecommunications Program