USDA Extends Deadlines for ReConnect Rural Broadband Program

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Bette Brand, Acting Administrator for USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, announced February 6, 2019 that the USDA would extend application deadlines for the Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect Program).

To give potential applicants adequate time to access technical assistance from USDA staff and its partners, the first application deadline will be pushed back to May 31, 2019 or later. Previously, application deadlines began in April. New specific deadlines for ReConnect Program grants, loans, and grant-loan combination applications will be posted in the Federal Register in late February.

In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On December 13, 2018, Agriculture Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect”, including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. Funds will be awarded to projects that have a financially-sustainable business models that will bring high-speed broadband to rural homes, businesses, farms, ranches, and community facilities such as first responders, healthcare sites, and schools.

More information about the ReConnect program may be found at http://reconnect.usda.gov.

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