RFP Summary provided by the agency
The Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect) Program provides loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas. In facilitating the expansion of broadband services and infrastructure, the program will fuel long-term economic development and opportunities in rural America. One of the essential goals of the ReConnect Program is to expand broadband service to rural areas without sufficient broadband access.
Award Funds may be used to pay for the following costs:
- To fund the construction or improvement of facilities required to provide fixed terrestrial broadband service.
- To fund reasonable pre-application expenses.
- To fund the acquisition and improvement of an existing system that is currently providing insufficient broadband service (eligible for 100 percent loan requests only).
The Agency encourages applicants to consider projects that will advance the following key priorities:
- Assisting Rural communities recover economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly disadvantaged communities.
- Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to Rural Development programs and benefits from Rural Development funded projects.
- Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities.
USDA recommends these steps to guide your application:
- Review the eligibility information for the Reconnect Program to determine your project’s geographic eligibility.
- Find the area you’re proposing to serve using the ReConnect Program Service Area Map.
- Decide which of the funding categories to apply for. The amount and types of funds available can be found in the latest Funding Opportunity Announcement. 100% Grant, 100% Grant for Tribal Governments and Socially Vulnerable Communities, 50% Loan/50% Grant.
- Outline technical specifications and engineering plans and draft business plans with financial analysis and market studies for viability of broadband service.
- Reach out to USDA or your General Field Representative for any assistance you may need or questions you may have about the ReConnect Program or the application process.
- Thoroughly review the application eligibility factors outlined in the latest FOA to ensure all requirements are met to be eligible for an award. Application materials and resources, including the ReConnect Program Application Guide, can be found on the Forms and Resources
What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?
Broadband, Social, Economic,
How do you submit to this opportunity?
USDA Rural Utilities Service hosted a live webinar series and workshops dedicated to the ReConnect Program to help potential applicants gain a better understanding of the application process and program requirements. Recordings of each webinar topic and workshop sessions are available here.
Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?
- Limited Liability Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships
- Cooperatives or mutual organizations
- States or local governments, including any agency, subdivision, instrumentality of political subdivision thereof
- A territory or possession of the United States
- An Indian Tribe, as defined in Section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. §450b)
Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:
In Utah, Beehive Telephone Company, Inc. is receiving a $16,687,000 loan to make system improvements in 11 of its 12 exchanges, which will allow the company to enhance its offerings, providing significantly faster broadband speeds and allowing for video services and superior voice services. Beehive Telephone Company, Inc. serves some of Utah’s most remote communities, providing telecommunications services to high-cost areas which may otherwise be unreached.