Opportunity number
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Department of Agriculture Utilities Program
Due date
December 23rd 2020
Broadband Economic Development Education & Workforce Information Technologies
Project funding
$100,000 - $3,000,000
Funding size
Up to $3M

Community Connect Grant Program

RFP Summary provided by the agency

The Community Connect Grant Program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide service at or above the Broadband Grant Speed (10Mbps upstream and 1Mbps downstream) to all premises in rural, economically-challenged communities where broadband service does not exist. The deployment of broadband services on a “community-oriented connectivity” basis stimulates economic development and provides enhanced educational and health care opportunities in rural areas. RUS will give priority to rural areas that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband services, based on the criteria contained herein.

The regulation for the Community Connect Grant Program can be found at 7 CFR part 1739.

All applicants should carefully review and prepare their applications according to instructions in the FY 2021 Community Connect Grant Program Application Guide (Application Guide) and program resources. This Application Guide can be found at https://www.rd.usda.gov/community-connect. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant’s own risk. Applications will be submitted through the Community Connect Portal application system available on the program web site.

The Agency encourages applications that will help improve life in rural America. See information on the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity found at www.usda.gov/ruralprosperity. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:

• Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
• Developing the Rural Economy
• Harnessing Technological Innovation
• Supporting a Rural Workforce
• Improving Quality of Life

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

Broadband, Social, Economic,

How do you submit to this opportunity?

To complete an application for this program, you must be pre-registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) and also have a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number. Neither of these applications cost money, but they can take time so be sure to get this taken care of immediately. If you are already registered with these systems, you do not need to register again.

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

  • State governments
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • City or township governments
  • Special district governments
  • County governments
  • Independent school districts
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • Small businesses
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education

Applicants can request technical assistance from USDA by filling out the contact form at https://www.usda.gov/reconnect/contact-us.

Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Allegheny Communications Connect, Inc.; Oakland, Maryland Grant Amount — $1,140,772 Contact: John W. Flinko, Vice President County: Garrett Oakland, Maryland is located in Garrett County, the most western county in Maryland. The leadership of the community has developed a diverse group of initiatives, but still need fast, dependable broadband service to take the economy and quality of life another step forward. The project will enhance educational opportunities for both students and adults, improve health care, increase safety and security of residents, and accelerate Oakland’s economic development by featuring telecommunication infrastructure to attract new businesses. A total of 17 community organizations are participating in this project, including major critical community facilities such as the Garrett County Memorial Hospital, the Board of Education, County Emergency Management, County Community Action Committee, and the Ruth Enlow Library.

Northeast Service Cooperative
Community: Fond du Lac Reservation
Grant Amount: $3,000,000
Contact: Lyle McVey, Chief Technology Officer, 218-748-7623
County: Carlton, MINNESOTA
Congressional District: MN-08 (project); MN-08 (awardee) The Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) proposes a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) or last mile project on the Fond du Lac Reservation in order to address the lack of broadband availability to the rural population, critical public services and businesses. NESC will partner with the Fond du Lac Band of Superior Chippewa and provide broadband on portions of the Fond du Lac Reservation

Mora, Louisiana
Grant Amount: $144,670
Contact: Angela Tufte (610-535-6904)
County: Natchitoches Parish
Congressional District: LA-04 (project); PA-06 & PA-07 (awardee) MTPCS, LLC will use Rural Utilities Service funds to provide broadband services to residents,
businesses, and critical community facilities within Mora, Louisiana through a wireless network. The project will upgrade and overbuild MTPCS’ current cellular telephone network in order to provide broadband services to all residences, businesses, and critical community facilities. The project will also make available to all residents, free of charge for two years, a Community Center equipped with 10 computer workstations with broadband Internet access.

Plateau Wireless, LLC
Brumley Town, Missouri
Grant Amount: $570,800
Contact: James Bradley, (603) 763-7390
County: Miller
Congressional District: MO9 (project); NH2 (awardee)
Plateau Wireless, LLC will use Rural Utilities Service funds to provide broadband services to the rural community of Brumley Town, Missouri through a fixed wireless network. The network will provide high speed Internet services to all critical community facilities, residents and businesses. A community center will be established as part of the project and the awardee plans on scheduling free training and educational classes for residents. The Miller County Sheriff’s Office, Brumley Fire Department, Miller County Ambulance District, Osage Beach Ambulance, Post Office and community center will all receive broadband service free of charge for two years.

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