The United States Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for funding to provide broadband service in unserved rural areas. USDA is making grants available under the Community Connect Grant program for Fiscal Year 2021.
The program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide broadband service in rural, economically challenged communities where broadband service is less than 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. All areas within the applicant preferred service area map must be lacking broadband service to be eligible.
Grant recipients must provide broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to all premises in the proposed service area. USDA will give priority to rural areas that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband services, based on requirements that can be found at 7 CFR part 1739.
Applicants are encouraged to review the FY 2021 application guide and sample material online. Electronic submissions must be received no later than Dec. 23, 2020 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time (EST) to be eligible for funding under this grant opportunity. Information available online at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-connect-grants.
Eligible applicants include:
- Incorporated organizations
- Federally-recognized Tribes
- State and local units of government
- Any other legal entity, including cooperatives, private corporations, or limited liability companies organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis
What is an eligible area?
Rural areas that lack any existing broadband speed of at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream are eligible.The Application Guide at the site listed above provides guidance on rural areas currently eligible for Community Connect Grants and how to review broadband speeds to determine eligibility.
USDA encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB) to help improve life in rural America. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation.
Key strategies include: • Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America • Developing the Rural Economy • Harnessing Technological Innovation • Supporting a Rural Workforce • Improving Quality of Life For additional information, visit www.grants.gov.