Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan Guarantees

Link

https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/telecommunications-infrastructure-loans-loan-guarantees

Additional Links

Fact Sheet

Deadline

Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

Sponsoring Organization

USDA Rural Development (USDA RD)

Purpose

Helps fulfill communication needs and foster economic development in rural areas by providing financing for the construction, maintenance, improvement, and expansion of telephone and broadband services in rural areas. Offers technical assistance and funding to assist service providers with constructing, enhancing, expanding, and/or acquiring telephone and broadband networks in rural communities.

Funds can be used for:

  • Building, improving, or expanding facilities needed to provide telephone and broadband services in rural areas
  • Acquiring facilities, portions of existing systems, and/or other companies, if the acquisition is necessary and incidental to providing or improving telephone and broadband services in rural areas
  • Refinancing an outstanding obligation, if refinancing is necessary and incidental to providing or improving telephone and broadband services in rural areas

Amount of Funding

Offers two types of infrastructure loans:

  • Cost-of-Money loans are direct loans from the USDA Rural Utilities Service at current U.S. Treasury fixed rates based on loan maturity. Interest rates are released daily and can be found in the U.S. government securities section under Treasury constant maturities.
  • Guaranteed loans allow private lenders to extend credit to qualified borrowers in rural areas at varying interest rates and loan terms. Loans are guaranteed up to 80% of the total loan amount.

Hardship loans have been used in the discretion of USDA Rural Utilities Service to assist applicants in meeting financial feasibility requirements for applications to serve underserved areas. Hardship loans were offered at a fixed interest rate of 5% for up to 20 years and the borrower was required to meet special qualifications. No hardship loans have been awarded since 2011 and funds are not currently available for this loan type.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants include most entities that provide telecommunications in qualified rural areas:

  • State and local entities
  • Federally recognized tribes
  • Nonprofits, including cooperatives and limited dividend or mutual associations
  • For-profit corporations or limited liability companies
  • Public bodies providing telephone service in rural areas as of October 28, 1949

Under this funding opportunity, eligible rural areas must meet the following criteria:

  • Any area of the U.S. with a population of 5,000 residents
  • Areas without telecommunications facilities
  • Areas where the applicant is the recognized telecommunications provider

Additional applicant requirements include:

  • Borrowers having the legal authority to provide, construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities or services
  • All facilities financed with the aid of federal dollars must be used for a public purpose
  • Service providers may not duplicate similar services available in the same area

Geographic Coverage

Nationwide

What This Program Funds

Buildings and Facilities • Capacity Building

Application Process

Application information, requirements, instructions, and access to the online application system, forms, and other resources are available on the program website.

Contact the appropriate telecommunications general field representative to discuss your specific project and start an application.

Application guide
Applicant frequently asked questions

Contact

For program questions:
Loan Origination and Approval Division
202-720-0800

Topics This Program Addresses

Economic Development • Infrastructure • Teleservices and Technology