Funding Available to Extend Broadband to Rural Communities
Rural townships that need broadband internet access may apply for funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Connect Grants. The deadline for applications is March 13, 2017.
This program helps fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically feasible for private-sector providers to deliver service. Eligible rural areas are those that lack existing broadband speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.
Funds may be used for:
• the construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land, or buildings used to provide broadband service for a) all residential and business customers located in the proposed funded service area and b) all participaing critical community facilities, such as public schools, fire stations, and public libraries and/or
• the cost of providing broadband service free of charge to the critical community facilities for two years.
Less than 10 percent of the grant amount, or up to $150,000, may be used for the improvement, expansion, construction, or acquisition of a community center that provides online access to the public.
Grants require matching funds of at least 15 percent from non-federal sources, which may be used for operating costs.
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