Rural Development (USDA )

RUS Accepting Community Connect Grant Applications

The Rural Utilities Service, a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is accepting applications under the Community Connect Grant (CCG) program for Fiscal Year 2023. RUS has approximately $79 million for FY 2023. These grant funds will be made available to eligible applicants to construct broadband networks that provide service on a community-oriented connectivity basis in rural areas. All applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred in developing their applications. Applications are due June 20, 2023.

Rural Coalition Calls on Congress to Codify Broadband Service Standards in Farm Bill

In a letter to the leaders of the Congressional Committees on Agriculture, a coalition of partners in rural development, education and communications urged Congress to "aim for levels of connectivity in USDA programs that will meet the needs of rural Americans not just today but well into the future." They wrote, "we encourage you to continue to put the interests of rural communities first by codifying in the Farm Bill a minimum service level commitment of 100 Mbps symmetrical broadband service – the level specified in the oversubscribed third round of ReConnect – for any applicant seeking

President Biden's budget seeks another $400 Million for ReConnect Program

The US Department of Agriculture’s Broadband ReConnect Program already got a $2 billion boost from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, but President Joe Biden is looking to bolster the loan and grant initiative with a fresh batch of funding. In a budget proposal covering fiscal year 2024, President Biden called for an additional $400 million to be allocated to the program to help deploy broadband in unserved areas. “Installing high-speed internet creates high-paying union jobs and strengthens rural

Here's how GCI is navigating fiber in Alaska’s most remote communities

The Alaskan landscape is rife with broadband accessibility and deployment challenges, which GCI is all too familiar with.

Report on the Effectiveness of the Broadband Interagency Coordination Agreement

The Federal Communications Commission, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) (collectively, the Agencies) entered into an interagency agreement to share information and coordinate for the distribution of funds for broadband deployment. The FCC’s experience with the Interagency Agreement, as well as the record, demonstrate that the Interagency Agreement has significantly facilitated efficient use of federal funds for broadband deployment.

Five sources of federal funding that are fueling broadband investment.

Here is an overview of the major federal funding vehicles for broadband that are helping to fuel the broadband investment cycle and are aimed at closing the digital divide so that all Americans have access to high-speed, reliable, affordable broadband:

Biden-Harris Administration Invests $63 Million in High-Speed Internet in Rural Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Mississippi

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $63 million to bring high-speed internet access to people living and working in rural areas in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Mississippi. The investments include funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $63 million in grants comes from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program, in which USDA invested a total of $1.7 billion. The four projects being funded are:

ReConnect3 Final Results: The USDA Gets the Job Done

It was worth the wait. The third round of the US Department of Agriculture's ReConnect Loan and Grant Program closed in 2022, after awarding $759 million in rural broadband grants and loans to 49 deployers, mostly small local exchange carriers (LECs). The average cost of passing each home, farm, other business, or school was just over $4,500, compared to $4,100 in 2019 and almost $6,000 in 2020. All awardees in this round, and almost all in previous rounds, told USDA they were deploying fiber to the premises.

Sens Thune, Luján, Klobuchar, Fischer Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Rural Broadband

US Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)—ranking member and chairman, respectively, of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband—and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) reintroduced the Rural Internet Improvement Act. This bipartisan legislation would streamline and bolster US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development broadband programs and ensure that their funding is being targeted to rural areas that need it the most.

Panel Suggest Need for Tracking Mechanism for Broadband Infrastructure Funding

There needs to be a way to consistently track the billions in broadband infrastructure money coming from the federal government, said Information Technology and Innovation Foundation panelists. With $42.5 billion coming to the states from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, experts floated the idea of having mandated ongoing reporting requirements on what that money is doing. Brookings Institution senior fellow Nicol Turner-Lee said her research group is discussing their own version of a tracking me