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Grants and Loans to USA Agencies, Tribes, Nonprofits, For-Profits,
and IHEs to Increase Broadband Access in Rural Areas

Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program

Agency Type:

Federal

Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Rural Utilities Service (RUS)

Conf. Date:

02/10/22

Deadline Date:

02/22/22 11:59 AM Eastern

Description:

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Grants and loans to USA and territories state and local government agencies, Tribes, nonprofit organizations, for-profits, and IHEs to expand broadband access in rural areas. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to finalize. Funding may be used for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service. Applicants may request grants, loans, or a combination of both.

To be eligible to receive ReConnect Program funds, a proposed project must meet the following criteria:

  1. Lack Sufficient Access to Broadband: At least 90% of households in the proposed funded service area (PFSA) must lack sufficient access to broadband service, as defined in the latest Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).
    • The FOA published on October 25, 2021 defines sufficient access to broadband as at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 20 Mbps upstream.
  2. Serve All Premises in the PFSA: The proposed network must be capable of providing broadband service to every premises located in the PFSA at the time of application submission at the speed defined in the latest FOA.
    • The speed defined in the latest FOA is 100 Mbps symmetrical service to every premise in the proposed funded service area (PFSA). Please note that “capable of delivering 100 Mbps symmetrical service to every premises” means that all premises in the PFSA must be able to receive this service at the same time.
  3. Be in a Rural Area: A rural area is any area that is 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.

The Agency encourages applicants to consider projects that will advance the following key priorities:

  • Assisting Rural communities recover economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly disadvantaged communities.
  • Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to Rural Development programs and benefits from Rural Development funded projects.
  • Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities.

In addition, the Agency would like to highlight the importance of creating good-paying jobs with strong labor standards.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 185321

Estimated Size of Grant:

Award amounts under the FOA will be limited as follows:

1. 100 Percent Grant Up to $350,000,000 is available for grants. The maximum amount of grant funds that can be requested in an application is $25,000,000. However, to encourage broadband deployment in remote areas, if an applicant provides supporting information that demonstrates that the PFSA(s) is comprised 100 percent of areas classified by the USDA Economic Research Service as Frontier and Remote Area (FAR) Level 4, the applicant may request up to $35,000,000. A GIS layer of FAR Level 4 areas can be found on the ReConnect Program Service Area Map.

2. 100 Percent Grant for Tribal Governments and Socially Vulnerable Communities: Up to $350,000,000 is available for grants. The maximum amount of grant funds that can be requested in an application is $25,000,000. However, to encourage broadband deployment in remote areas, if an applicant provides supporting information that demonstrates that the PFSA(s) is comprised 100 percent of locations within areas classified by the USDA Economic Research Service as FAR Level 4, the applicant may request up to $35,000,000. A GIS layer of FAR Level 4 areas can be found on the ReConnect Program Service Area Map.

3. 50 Percent Loan / 50 Percent Grant Combination: Up to $250,000,000 is available for loan/grant combinations. The maximum amount that can be requested in an application is $25,000,000 for the loan and $25,000,000 for the grant. Loan and grant amounts will always be equal.

4. 100 Percent Loan: Up to $200,000,000 is available for loans. The maximum amount that can be requested in an application is $50,000,000.

Term of Contract:

Applicants must demonstrate that the project can be completely built out within five years from the date funds are first made available.

Eligibility:

  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Independent school districts
  • Indian housing authorities
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • Public housing authorities
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Cooperatives or Mutual Organizations and Limited Liability Partnerships are eligible to apply.

Pre-Application Information:

Beginning on November 24, 2021, applications can be submitted through the RUS on-line application portal until 11:59 a.m. Eastern on February 22, 2022. Applications will not be accepted after February 22, 2022 until a new application opportunity has been opened with the publication of an additional FOA in the Federal Register.

Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number. All applicants must register for a DUNS number, or other Government non-proprietary identifier as part of the application process. The applicant can obtain the DUNS number free of charge by calling Dun and Bradstreet. Go to https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform for more information on assignment of a DUNS number or confirmation. DUNS numbers of parent or affiliated operations cannot be substituted for the applicant. If a DUNS number is not provided, the application cannot be considered for an award.

System for Award Management (SAM ). Prior to submitting an application, the applicant must also register in SAM at https://www.sam.gov/SAM/ and supply a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code number as part of the application. SAM registration must be active with current data at all times, from the application review throughout the active Federal award funding period. To maintain active SAM registration, the applicant must review and update the information in the SAM database annually from the date of initial registration or from the date of the last update. The applicant must ensure that the information in the database is current, accurate, and complete. If the CAGE Code of the applicant is not included in the application, the application will not be considered for an award.

Eligibility Requirements:
https://www.usda.gov/reconnect/service-area-eligibility-requirements

Forms and Resources:
https://www.usda.gov/reconnect/forms-and-resources

More information:
https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-7/subtitle-B/chapter-XVII/part-1740

Federal Register:
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/10/25/2021-23128/rural-econnectivity-program

View this opportunity on Grants.gov:
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=336268

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online applications will open November 24. See the URL for Full Text, below.

For general inquiries regarding the ReConnect Program, contact Laurel Leverrier, Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), email laurel.leverrier@usda.gov, telephone: (202) 720-9554.

CFDA Number:

10.752

Funding or Pin Number:

RUS-REC-2022

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

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