Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan Guarantees
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
USDA Rural Development (USDA RD)
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
What This Program Funds
Buildings and Facilities • Capacity Building
Contact the appropriate telecommunications general field representative to discuss your specific project and start an application.
For program questions:
Loan Origination and Approval Division
Topics This Program Addresses
Economic Development • Infrastructure • Teleservices and Technology