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Deadline: February 24, 2016

U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency: Cool & Connected

Communities interested in using broadband service to help revitalize small-town main streets and promote economic development are encouraged to apply for Cool & Connected, a pilot program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service and EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

Through Cool & Connected, a team of experts will help community members develop strategies and an action plan for using planned or existing broadband service to promote smart, sustainable community development.

Quality broadband access can provide new opportunities for people and businesses. A growing number of communities have combined broadband service with other local assets such as cultural and recreational amenities to attract and retain investment and people, including young people. This can help diversify local economies. Such efforts typically require planning among community leaders, businesses, and internet service providers. The Cool & Connected program will provide assistance to this end, helping communities take advantage of new or existing broadband service to create walkable, connected, economically vibrant main streets and small-town neighborhoods.

Amount: Not stated. Those selected for the program will gain access to a team of experts who will help develop a plan for sustainable community development around broadband.

Eligibility: Any community representative is welcome to submit a letter of interest. Special consideration will be given to small towns and rural communities that face economic challenges, and to communities in places where USDA has provided loans or grants in support of broadband or other internet-related services.

Link: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/cool-connected-announcement-federal-planning-assistance-broadband-and-sustainable

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