download (1)The United States Department of Agriculture and the Rural Utilities Service are now accepting applications for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.  The program provides loans and loan guarantees to eligible rural areas for broadband improvements.

Eligible applicants include state or local units of governments, tribes or tribal organizations, corporations, limited liability companies, and cooperative or mutual organizations.  Funding can be used for construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities, or the cost of leasing facilities to improve broadband speeds.

Applicants must also propose service upgrades for eligible rural areas.  Communities that have already benefited from RUS funding for broadband may not be eligible.  The USDA provides the following eligibility criteria:

• Proposed funded service areas must be completely contained within a rural area or composed of multiple rural areas, as defined in 7 CFR 1738
• At least 15 percent of the households in the proposed funded service area are unserved,
• No part of the proposed funded service area has three or more “incumbent service providers.”
• No part of the proposed funded service area overlaps with the service area of current RUS borrowers or the service areas of grantees that were funded by RUS.

For more information, take a look at the program fact sheet.  To apply, visit:

https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rd-apply

To view webinar slides click here:

https://www.rd.usda.gov/files/Broadband_Web_Jan_2017.pdf

The next webinar will be held January 26th from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.