USDA Seeks Applications for Nearly $12 Million in Broadband Grants for Rural Communities

Lincoln, Neb., April 26 2016 – 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.

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.

USDA has invested $160 million in more than 240 projects to bring broadband to unserved rural communities since the Community Connect Program was created in 2002.

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

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.

In Nebraska contact Roger Meeks at (402) 416-4936 or roger.meeks@wdc.usda.gov.