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ReConnect Loan and Grant Program
Application Deadline: Apr 15, 2020
USDA Rural Development (USDA RD)
Offers funding to support the deployment of broadband service to rural areas without sufficient high-speed internet access. Seeks to generate private sector investment for broadband infrastructure and provide internet access to all sites in a proposed rural service area, including residential homes, community healthcare and public safety facilities, schools, libraries, farms, ranches, factories, and other production sites. Proposed networks are required to deliver broadband service with download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.
The program offers 3 funding categories.
- 100% grant: all funds are awarded in the form of a grant. A scoring incentive is available for applicants providing service above the required 25/3 Mbps speeds.
- 50% loan/50% grant: awards are made as a combination of grant and loan funding. Loan and grant amounts will always be equal. Loan funds must be expended before grant funds can be used.
- 100% loan: all funds are issued in the form of a fixed rate, low-interest loan. Applications are not evaluated on a competitive basis.
Funds may be used for:
- Construction or improvement of buildings, land, and other facilities that are required to provide broadband service
- Acquisition and improvement of an existing system that is currently providing insufficient broadband service
- Terrestrial-based facilities that support the provision of satellite broadband service
- Reasonable pre-application expenses not exceeding 5% of the award amount
Amount of Funding
Award amounts for each funding category are as follows:
- 100% grant: Up $25,000,000
- 50% loan/50% grant: Up to $25,000,000 loan and $25,000,000 grant
- 100% loan: Up to $50,000,000
Project period: 5 years
Estimated total program funding: $512,000,000
Up to $200,000,000 of total program funding is available for each funding category.
100% grant applicants must provide matching funds from clearly identified sources for at least 25% of the total cost of the project. 50% loan/50% grant applicants may propose substituting cash for the loan component of the award at the time of application.
Interest rates for 100% loans are set at a fixed 2% rate. Interest rates for 50% loan/50% grant funds will be set at the Treasury rate for the remaining amortization period at the time of each advance of funds.
Who Can Apply
Eligible applicants include:
- States, local governments, or any agency, subdivision, instrumentality, or political subdivision thereof
- Territories or possessions of the United States
- Indian tribes, as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. § 450b)
- Nonprofit entities
- For-profit corporations
- Limited liability companies
- Cooperatives and mutual associations
In addition, the proposed service area for any project funded through this program must meet the following criteria:
- Be located in an area where at least 90% of households lack access to fixed, terrestrial broadband service of at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream
- Be located in a rural area, defined as any area not located in a city, town, or incorporated area that 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.
Applicants may use the ReConnect program eligibility area map to determine if an address is located in an eligible service area.
Additional eligibility requirements regarding overlapping service areas and ineligible prior funded service areas can be found on the program website.
What This Program Funds
Buildings and Facilities • Capacity Building • Equipment • New Program
Application instructions, requirements, and other information can be found in the Federal Register.
Examples of past awards rural communities received in fiscal year (FY) 2020 are described on the program website.
Topics This Program Addresses
Healthcare Facilities • Infrastructure • Teleservices and Technology