Tag Archives: Rural Broadband

Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says USDA will again accept rural broadband funding request this week. USDA will accept applications for the second round of $550 million in ReConnect Program loan and grant funding starting January 31.

The funds will expand public-private partnerships in rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than ten megabits per second download and one megabit per second upload. Secretary Perdue says, “we at USDA are very excited to begin accepting applications for the second round of funds.”

Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service.

Through the program, USDA is making available approximately $200 million for grants, as well as up to $200 million for loan and grant combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans. More information is available online at www.usda.gov/reconnect.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai this week presented his colleagues with final rules to launch the new $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

Chairman Pai says the fund would “target rural areas across the country where residents currently lack access to adequate broadband.” The rules will be voted on by the FCC at its Open Meeting on January 30. The proposal would establish a two-phased process to provide funding for the deployment of high-speed broadband in areas of the United States where there is currently not fixed broadband service that meets the Commission’s minimum speed standard of 25/3 Megabits per second.

For Phase I, the FCC would target $16 billion to areas that are wholly unserved by such broadband. For Phase II, the FCC would use its new granular broadband mapping approach, called the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, to target unserved households in areas that are partially served by such broadband.