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Information Contact

Program details may change over time. Before you begin an application, please confirm that you have the most up-to-date program information by contacting the General Field Representative who serves your area.


Counties Municipalities Indian Tribes and Pueblos Other Local Governmental Units Non-profit 501(c)3 Private Business School Districts State Agencies

Type of Aid


Program Purpose

This grant program offers financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide, on a community-oriented connectivity basis, broadband service that fosters economic growth and delivers enhanced educational, health care, and public safety services.

Deadline to Apply

The current application window for FY 2017 closed on March 13, 2017.

Eligibility Description

State or local governments

: Federally-recognized Tribes

: Non-profit organizations

: For-profit corporations

Special Conditions

This grant program is intended to benefit rural areas, which have populations of 20,000 or less, that do have access to broadband service as defined in the latest publication in the Federal Register.

Applicants must provide matching contributions in cash of at least 15 percent of the total amount of financial assistance requested.

Funding Availability

Funding Potential for Award–Funding availability is pending the congressional budget of FY 2017.

Range of Awards–The minimum grant amount is $100,000 and a maximum grant amount is $3,000,000.

Funding Cycle – Duration–The grantee has three (3) years to expend the award funds.

Source of Funds–This program is federally funded.

Application Process

Deadline–The application window for FY 2017 closed on March 13, 2017.

How to Apply–Submit completed paper or electronic applications to the RUS Telecommunications Program. If paper submission, mail the application package to: Telecommunications Program, RUS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 2844, STOP 1597, Washington, DC 20250-1597. Applications should be marked, “Attention: Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Loan Origination and Approval.” If electronic submission, submit through the Federal government’s Grants.gov initiative at http://www.grants.gov/.

Selection Criteria & Decision Authority–Grants applications are scored competitively. See the NOSA and 7 CFR 1739.17 for more information on the scoring criteria.


Title III, Pub. L. 108-199, 118 Stat. 3; 7 CFR 1739

Related Programs

Telecommunications Loans and Loan Guarantees Program, administered by the USDA Rural Utilities Service

: Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program, administered by the USDA Rural Utilities Service

: Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program, administered by the USDA Rural Development State Offices

: Rural Business Development Grants, administered by the USDA Rural Development State Offices

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can an application propose to use grant funds in more than one service area:

No. Applicants must define a single contiguous geographic area within an eligible Rural Area with a population of 20,000 or less. See 7 CFR 1739, the NOFA, and the FY 2017 Application Guide for more information.

: What is the difference between Minimum Broadband Service and Minimum Broadband Grant Speed:

Minimum Broadband Service is the measurement that RUS uses to determine whether a proposed funded service area is served or unserved. RUS will determine that Broadband Service does not exist for areas with no broadband service or whose access is less than the standard most recently published in the Federal Register.

Minimum Broadband Grant Speed is the minimum bandwidth that an applicant must propose to deliver to every customer in the proposed funded service area. This speed is identified in the Federal Register.