USDA Rural Development will begin accepting the first round of applications for the Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program on April 23 through the program’s website.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On December 13, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the rules of the program, including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.
USDA is making available up to $200 million in grants, $200 million in loan and grant combinations, and $200 million in low-interest loans. The application deadlines are:
- May 31, 2019, for grants;
- June 21, 2019, for loan/grant combinations; and
- July 12, 2019, for low-interest loans.