This funding record is inactive. Please see the program website or contact the program sponsor to determine if this program is currently accepting applications or will open again in the future.
USDA Community Connect Grant Program
Application Deadline: Dec 23, 2020
USDA Rural Development (USDA RD)
Funds efforts to expand broadband access to rural communities that do not have existing broadband services because of economic challenges. Seeks to implement internet services to benefit and improve employment, education, healthcare, public safety, and community development. Encourages strategic investments that focus on:
- Establishing e-connectivity in rural communities nationwide
- Developing rural economies
- Employing technological innovations
- Supporting the rural workforce
- Improving the quality of life for rural residents
Funds can be used for:
- Building, acquiring, or leasing facilities, spectrum, land, or buildings used to deploy and deliver broadband service for residential and business customers located within the proposed funded service area, and participating critical community facilities such as public schools, fire stations, public libraries, and public safety stations
- Improving, expanding, constructing, or acquiring a community center that provides free internet access and computer access points
- Paying for the expense of offering free broadband service to critical community facilities for 2 years
Project proposals must deliver broadband service at a minimum bandwidth of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream for fixed and mobile service to all residential and business customers residing in a contiguous geographic area with one or more eligible rural areas that is the proposed funded service area.
For this program, a rural area is defined as any area that is not located within a city, town, or incorporated area which has a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants; or an urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants. To see if an area is considered rural for this funding opportunity, use the Telecommunications Program Mapping Tool.
Amount of Funding
Award ceiling: $3,000,000
Award floor: $100,000
Estimated number of awards: 20
Applicants must provide matching funds for a portion of the project. A minimum match of 15% of the requested grant amount must be obtained from non-federal sources and may be used for operating expenses.
Who Can Apply
Eligible applicants include:
- Incorporated organizations
- Federally recognized Indian tribes or tribal organizations
- Units of local government
- Other legal entities, including a cooperative, private corporation, or limited liability company organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis
Partnerships with other federal, state, local, private, and nonprofit entities are encouraged.
Applicants must have the legal capacity and authority to:
- Enter into contracts
- Comply with applicable federal statutes and regulations
- Own and operate the broadband facilities as proposed in their application
Applicants in rural areas with broadband service that is less than 10 Mbps downstream plus 1 Mbps upstream are eligible to apply. For this program, broadband service does not include internet access provided through satellite or mobile services.
Applicants who are not eligible for financial assistance include:
- Corporations that have been convicted of a federal felony within the past 24 months
- Any corporation that has been assessed to have any unpaid federal tax liability, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed and is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability
What This Program Funds
Buildings and Facilities • Capacity Building • Equipment • Operating Costs and Staffing
Application instructions, requirements, and other information can be found in the funding announcement.
For program questions:
For additional information, contact the appropriate telecommunications general field representative for your state.
Past awards communities have received are described under the "To Apply" tab of the program website towards the bottom of the page.
Rural communities who have received funding include:
- Morton County, North Dakota, used funds to build a fiber to the main broadband system to offer services to 126 local households.
- Camden County, North Carolina, received funding to deliver free internet services to county residents by installing computers at a local community center.
- San Juan County, Utah, used funding to offer state of the art voice, video, and data services to 178 households in the community.
- Madison County, North Carolina, received funding to provide high-speed internet to over 1,000 homes and businesses.
- Pushmataha County, Oklahoma, received funding to develop a local community center in which individuals can access free computer terminals and broadband access.
Topics This Program Addresses
Community Planning and Coalition Building • Economic Development • Employment • Infrastructure • Teleservices and Technology