Nearly $12 million available to fund broadband infrastructure

Nearly $12 million available to fund broadband infrastructure

Goal of Community Connect grant program is to foster economic growth by connecting unserved rural areas to global marketplace.

USDA is soliciting applications for grants to establish broadband in unserved rural communities through its Community Connect program. Community Connect is administered by USDA's Rural Utilities Service and helps to fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not economically viable for private sector providers to provide service.

"Through Community Connect and our other telecommunications programs, USDA helps to ensure that rural residents have access to broadband to run businesses, get the most from their education and benefit from the infinite services that fast, reliable broadband provides," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

USDA is soliciting applications for grants to establish broadband in unserved rural communities through its Community Connect program. (Photo: Arman Zhenikeyev/Fuse/Thinkstock)

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USDA plans to award up to $11.7 million in grants through the Community Connect grant program. The grants fund broadband infrastructure to help foster economic growth by delivering connectivity to the global marketplace. The grants also fund broadband for community centers and public institutions.

The minimum grant is $100,000 for FY 2016. The maximum award is $3 million. USDA announced new rules in 2013 to better target Community Connect grants to areas where they are needed the most. To view the rules, go to https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-04-18/pdf/2016-08931.pdf

Related: USDA finalizes rural broadband access projects

Prior Community Connect grants cannot be renewed. However, existing Community Connect awardees may submit applications for new projects, which USDA will evaluate as new applications.

For more information on how to apply for grants, see page 22567 of the April 18, 2016, Federal Register.

Source: USDA Rural Development

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