The U.S. Department of Agriculture held a training in Denver on Wednesday for parties interested in applying for $550 million in rural broadband grants and loans.
“This program will generate private sector investment to deploy broadband infrastructure to provide high-speed internet e-Connectivity to as many rural premises as possible,” the USDA wrote on the Broadband ReConnect Program’s website.
Congress first authorized a pilot program in 2018, for which USDA received $1.4 billion. The department has awarded money to 55 applicants so far, including to Emery Telecommunications & Video Inc., for expanding broadband access in Colorado and Utah.
The next round of funding will award up to $200 million in grants, $200 million in loans and $200 million in combination grant-loans. Corporations, nonprofits, co-operatives, state and local governments, and tribes are eligible to apply. The projects must improve connectivity in areas with insufficient services, defined as connection speeds not exceeding 10 Mbps for download and 1 Mbps for upload for 90% of households.
Projects cannot be based in towns or cities of greater than 20,000 inhabitants, or in an “urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town.”
The application window will remain open through March 16. Get details on how to apply at the ReConnect Program's website.