USDA Broadband Funding Opportunities

June 25th – 3:00 pm to 3:45 pm
Quandary Peak 3

For more than 75 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service has provided funding for critical infrastructure to promote economic development in rural America. As part of a more than $220 billion Rural Development loan portfolio, we operate within one of the largest rural infrastructure banks in the world with over 40 programs. As such, we are proud to fill in where private-sector lenders cannot invest, with the ability to serve the most remote, economically challenged communities while assuming financial risks.

USDA has four long-standing programs that support the expansion of broadband service in rural areas across the US and is excited to announce a new broadband pilot program (the ReConnect Program) that will provide over $1.15 billion in funds. The ReConnect Program offers unique federal financing and funding options in the form of loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations. The program funding will be used to expand broadband service into rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less that do not have sufficient access to broadband service (defined as 10 megabits downstream and 1 megabit upstream) and include a wide variety of eligible entities including incumbent and competitive rural telephone and broadband service providers, rural electric cooperatives, private firms (but not sole proprietors or partnerships), nonprofits and governmental bodies.

Potential panel members could include electric and telecommunications cooperatives that have been recipients of USDA broadband funding.