Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (Farm Bill Broadband Program)

Link

https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-broadband-access-loan-and-loan-guarantee

Additional Links

Fact Sheet

Deadline

Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

Sponsoring Organization

USDA Rural Development (USDA RD)

Purpose

Offers loans and loan guarantees to provide funds to assist with building, improving, or acquiring facilities and equipment needed to provide services at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas. Funds projects to help rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Supports investments regarding the following key strategies:

  • Achieving e-connectivity
  • Developing rural economies
  • Harnessing technological innovation
  • Support the rural workforce
  • Enhancing the quality of life in rural communities across the nation.

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling: $25,000,000
Award floor: $100,000

Loan terms are limited to the expected composite economic life of the assets to be financed, plus 3 years. Telecommunications program interest rates are set when funds are advanced.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants must be non-profit or for-profit organizations, including:

  • Corporations
  • Limited liability companies (LLCs)
  • Cooperatives or mutual organizations
  • State or local units of government
  • Indian tribes or tribal organizations

Eligible service areas must:

  • Be completely contained within a rural area or composed of multiple rural areas
  • Not have access to broadband service in at least 15% of the households in the proposed area
  • Not contain any area with three or more incumbent service providers
  • Not contain any area that overlaps with the service area of current USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) borrowers or the service areas of grantees that were funded by RUS.

Communities where USDA RUS previously provided funding for construction of broadband infrastructure may not be eligible.

Geographic Coverage

Nationwide

What This Program Funds

Buildings and Facilities • Equipment

Application Process

Application information and requirements are available in the Federal Register. Applications may be submitted through USDA's RD Apply online application system. Additional forms and resources are available on the program website.

USDA RUS offers pre-application assistance, in which the national office staff and the general field representative review the draft application, provide comments, and identify areas where an application is not meeting eligibility requirements for funding.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be processed on a first come, first served basis. Every 90 days, RUS will conduct an evaluation of the submitted applications. The current funding announcement deadline is September 30, 2019.

Contact

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

For additional information, contact the appropriate telecommunications general field representative for your state.

Topics This Program Addresses

Economic Development • Infrastructure