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Information Contact

Program details may change over time. Before you begin an application, please confirm 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 State Agencies

Type of Aid

Direct Loan Loan Guarantee

Program Purpose

This loan and loan guarantee program offers financial assistance to eligible service providers that will construct, improve, or expand telephone and broadband networks in rural areas.

Deadline to Apply

Applications for this program are accepted all year-round.

Eligibility Description

Public bodies providing telephone service in rural areas as of October 28, 1949

: Cooperative, nonprofit, limited dividend or mutual associations

: State or local governments

: Federally recognized Tribes

: An emergency communications equipment provider

Special Conditions

This loan program is intended to benefit rural areas, which have populations of 5,000 or less. However, in some cases, loans may also serve non-rural subscribers. For additional detail, see the Code of Federal Regulations, 7 CFR 1735.

Funding Availability

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

Range of Awards–There is no maximum limit on loans beyond the approved congressional budget. The loan awards in FY 2016 ranged from $1.2 million to $40.3 million.

Funding Cycle – Duration–Standard loan terms include:

: Five (5) year window for construction following the issue of a contract

: Two (2) years of principal deferral

: Interest rates at the cost-of-money

: Loan maturities of the life of the assets plus three (3) years

Source of Funds–This program is federally funded.

Application Process

Deadline–Applications for this program are accepted all year-round.

How to Apply–Applications must be submitted through the Agency’s online application system located at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rd-apply. All materials required for completing an application are included in the online system. For assistance, contact the General Field Representative who serves your area.

Selection Criteria & Decision Authority–Applications are reviewed for loan feasibility and security, coverage of the service area(s), and non-duplication of service. See 7 CFR 1735 Subpart E and 7 CFR 1737 Subparts F-J for more information.


7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., 1921 et seq., and 6941 et seq.; 7 CFR 1735 and 1737

Related Programs

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