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Telecommunications Loans and Grants

In order to meet the goal of increasing economic opportunity in rural America, USDA finances new construction and upgrades to telecommunications infrastructure. Access to high-speed Internet services and other quality telecommunications services increases educational opportunities, improved availability of healthcare, job creation, retention and growth of businesses, and other economic growth.

These programs provide USDA with a powerful tool in building strong rural economies and increasing educational and health care services in rural communities across the U.S.

  • Telecommunications Loan Program

  • This program provides funding for the improvement and expansion of telecommunications facilities and service in rural areas of 5,000 in population or less. All facilities financed must be broadband capable. Program funds are provided through a variety of direct and guaranteed loans.

  • Broadband Loan Program (Farm Bill)

  • The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill) established a new loan and loan guarantee program ccess to Broadband Telecommunications Services in Rural Areas. This program was modified and reauthorized under the 2008 Farm Bill. This program provides funding for the cost of constructing, improving, and acquiring facilities and equipment for broadband service in rural communities of 20,000 inhabitants or less. Program funds are provided through a variety of direct loans.

  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Broadband Initiatives Program

  • This program supports the expansion of broadband service in rural areas through loans, grants and loan/grant combinations to projects that provide access to high speed service and facilitate economic development in locations without sufficient access to such service. All funds under this program must be obligated by September 30, 2010.

  • Distance Learning And Telemedicine Grant Program

  • Under this program, RUS provides grant funding for the deployment of distance learning and telemedicine projects serving rural areas of 20,00 or less (based on formula) to entities operating educational and healthcare facilities.

  • Community Connect Broadband Program

  • This program is designed to fund deployment of broadband infrastructure to the neediest areas in rural America. Each application covers only one community, population of 20,000 or less, which is completely unserved with regard to broadband services.

  • Weather Radio Transmitter Grant Program

  • The Rural Utilities Service Weather Radio Program provides grant funds to finance the installation of new transmitters to extend the coverage of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather Radio system (NOAA Weather Radio) in rural America. This program provides grant funds for use in rural areas and communities of 50,000 or less inhabitants.

  • Public Television Digital Transition Grant Program

  • These grants assist Public Television Stations serving substantial rural populations in transitioning to digital broadcast television transmission, as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. Grant funds may be used to acquire and install facilities and software necessary for the transition. Grant funds may also be used for associated engineering and environmental studies.

For more information about these programs, or to file an application, contact the local Rural Development office in your area.

For general information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Last Modified:11/20/2014 
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