Last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to bring broadband service to rural areas.

Universal access to affordable broadband will stimulate local economies and create jobs, Vilsack says. “All Americans — regardless of where they live — should be able to benefit from the opportunities available in our digital age.

State and local governments, corporations and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for grants from $50,000 to $1 million through USDA's Community Connect Grant Program, which was created to help rural residents tap into the tremendous potential of the internet.

Community Connect grants will bring state-of-the-art broadband services to some of America's most isolated and economically challenged communities. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis and can be used to:

  • Construct, acquire or lease broadband transmission services.
  • Improve, expand or lease community centers that provide free access to broadband for at least two years before, during and after normal work hours and on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Purchase computer equipment.
  • Provide broadband to all critical community facilities – first responders, police and so on – within the proposed Service Area.

Applications are due by the close of business on June 19. To vuew the application guide for this grant program, click here.

Also see the April 20 Federal Register, page 17941.

For more information on rural programs, click here

Source: USDA