Grant Details


Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect Program) (Part C): 100 Percent Grant - FY 2024

Agency: U.S. Department of Agriculture
CFDA: 10.752
Office: Rural Utilities Service (RUS)
Multipart Grant: Yes
Next Due: Unknown
Solicitation Date: Unknown
   
Match Required: Yes
Match Type: Unspecified
Actual Funds: Unspecified
Summary:

The purpose of this program is to provide loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to facilitate broadband development in rural areas. In facilitating the expansion of broadband services and infrastructure, this program will fuel long-term rural economic development and opportunities in rural America.

The funding agency encourages applicants to consider projects that will advance the following key priorities:

  • Assisting rural communities to recover economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly disadvantaged communities
  • Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to the funding agency's programs and benefits from the funding agency's funded projects
  • Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities

In addition, the funding agency is particularly interested in the importance of creating good-paying jobs with strong labor standards.

Funding will be provided for the following program components:

  • (Part A): 100 Percent Loan
  • (Part B): 50 Percent Loan/50 Percent Grant Combination
  • (Part C): 100 Percent Grant
  • (Part D): 100 Percent Grant for Alaska Native Corporations, Tribal Governments, Colonias, Persistent Poverty Areas and Socially Vulnerable Communities
  • (Part E): Projects Serving Areas Where 90 Percent of Households Lack Sufficient Access to Broadband

The purpose of the 100 Percent Grant component is to provide awards consisting of 100 percent grant funds. For a proposed funded service area (PFSA) to be eligible for funding under this component, at least 50 percent of the households in the PFSA must lack sufficient access to broadband.

Funds may be used to pay for the following costs:

  • Construction or improvement of facilities required to provide fixed terrestrial broadband services
  • Reasonable pre-application expenses

Facilities proposed to be constructed with award funds must be capable of delivering 100 Mbps symmetrical service to every premise in the PFSA.

Optional webinars and workshops are scheduled for this program. Refer to the Application section for details.

Program information detailed throughout this module was prepared using information from a previous fiscal year, as well as the preliminary program announcement, and should be used for reference purposes only. eCivis Grants Network will be updated with additional information upon the availability of the full program announcement.

Last Updated: February 06, 2024

Eligibility Notes:

Previous award recipients include:

  • Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (NM)
  • Valliant Telephone Company, Inc. (OK)
  • Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation (NC)
  • Totelcom Communications LLC (TX)
  • Delta-Montrose Electric Association (CO)

Refer to the Award file for additional information regarding previous award recipients.

The information below is from a previous fiscal year and should be used for reference purposes only.

Eligible applicants are nonprofit or for-profit organizations that take one of the following forms:

  • Corporations
  • Limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships
  • Cooperative or mutual organizations
  • States or local governments, including any agency, subdivision, instrumentality, or political subdivision thereof
  • Territories or possessions of the United States
  • Indian tribes, as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Assistance Act

For a proposed funded service area (PFSA) to be eligible for funding, at least 50 percent of the households in the PFSA must lack sufficient access to broadband. Service areas of existing borrowers of the funding agency without sufficient access to broadband are also eligible for funding. Areas receiving, or under consideration for other federal funds, are eligible for funding as long as an entity has not received final approval to receive other federal funding to construct terrestrial facilities providing at least 100/20 Mbps service in the PFSA as of September 6, 2022.

If service is being proposed over or on tribal lands, a certification from the appropriate tribal official is required.

Applicants may submit only one application.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, included funding in this program for 19 specific broadband projects. The proposed service areas for these projects are not eligible for funding. A geographic information system (GIS) layer of the proposed services areas for these 19 projects can be found online at ruraldevelopment.maps.arcgis.com.

Co-applicants are not eligible entities. If two entities are seeking to partner with each other in delivering broadband to areas without sufficient access, then one entity must take the lead on submitting the application.

Eligible Applicants:
Local Government
Native American Tribe
Non Profits
Private Sector
State Government
Application Notes:

Optional webinars are scheduled for this program as follows:

Preparing to Apply - ReConnect Round 5:

January 24, 2024
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET
Registration: www.zoomgov.com

February 7, 2024
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET
Registration: www.zoomgov.com

An optional three-day in-person workshop will be held for this program as follows:

February 27, 2024
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Reno, NV
Registration: forms.office.com

February 28, 2024
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Reno, NV
Registration: forms.office.com

February 29, 2024
8:30 a.m. - noon
Reno, NV
Registration: forms.office.com

Refer to the PreNOFA and OldNOFA files and OldFAQ folder for preliminary application information.

The information below is from a previous fiscal year and should be used for reference purposes only.

Applications will be accepted beginning on September 6, 2022, and must be received by 11:59 a.m. ET on November 2, 2022.

Applications must be submitted via the link that will be made available online at www.usda.gov/reconnect upon the opening of the application submission window.

The contents of the application will become available upon initiation of the online application process.

The following are required in order to submit an application:

  • Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number
  • SAM (System for Award Management) registration

Applicants may obtain a UEI number and verify or renew SAM registration status at www.ecivis.com/sam.

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Rurality of the proposed service area (25 points)
  • Level of existing services (25 points)
  • Economic need of the community (20 points)
  • Affordability (20 points)
  • Labor standards (20 points)
  • Tribal lands (15 points)
  • Local governments, nonprofit organizations, and cooperatives (15 points)
  • Socially vulnerable communities (15 points)
  • Net neutrality (10 points)
  • Wholesale broadband services (10 points)
Match Required: Yes
Match Type: Unspecified
Actual Funds: Unspecified
Match Notes:

The information below is from a previous fiscal year and should be used for reference purposes only.

Applicants must provide a matching contribution equal to at least 25 percent of the cost of the overall project.

Applicants must provide evidence of all funding, other than the award amount, necessary to support the project, such as bank account statements, firm letters of commitment from equity participants, or outside loans, which must evidence the timely availability of funds. If outside loans are used, they may only be secured by assets other than those used for collateral under this program.

Given the cashflow pinches on many telecommunications providers during the COVID pandemic, many previous award recipients have requested complying with the matching requirement over time, rather than depositing all matching funds at once into the pledged deposit account (PDA). Because of these extraordinary circumstances, the funding agency has agreed to modify the grant agreement to permit awardees to deposit the required match and other required funds into the PDA on a rolling basis.

Funding Notes:

In August 2023, a total of nearly $700 million was distributed via 38 awards through this program overall. In June 2023, a total of $714 million was distributed via 33 awards through this program overall. In April 2023, one award of $13,850,542 was distributed through this component. Refer to the Award file for details.

The information below is from a previous fiscal year and should be used for reference purposes only.

An unspecified amount of funding is available for this program overall, with up to $150 million available to support grants of at least $100,000 through this program. Generally, grants may be for up to $25 million. However, to encourage broadband deployment in remote areas, applicants may request grants of up to $35 million if they demonstrate that 100 percent of their service area is comprised of areas classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service as level 4 Frontier and Remote (FAR) areas.

Funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis. The advance of funds will be prorated against the amount of matching funds that are required and the amount of grant funds approved.

Projects must be completely built out within five years from the date funds are first made available.

Facilities funded with grant funds must provide the broadband service proposed in the application for the composite economic life of the facilities, as approved by the funding agency or as provided in the award documents.

Pre-application expenses may not exceed 5 percent of the requested funds. Costs associated with satisfying the environmental review requirements may not exceed 3 percent of the requested funds, and will be included as part of the overall 5 percent that is allowable for pre-application expenses. Pre-application expenses that were incurred under the previous round of this program, but that benefit an application for this round, may be funded up to the 5 percent of the total award in this round.

Up to 3 percent of the requested amount may be used to fund post-award monitoring expenses that are required to mitigate any environmental requirements as long as they are capitalized as part of the project.

Funds may not be used for:

  • Offsetting other funds
  • Supporting or opposing union organizing
  • Operating expenses for the award recipient
  • Costs incurred prior to the date on which the application is submitted, other than eligible pre-application expenses
  • An acquisition of an affiliate, or the purchase or acquisition of any facilities or equipment of an affiliate
  • The acquisition of a system previously funded by the funding agency
  • The purchase or lease of any vehicles other than those used primarily in construction or system improvements
  • Broadband facilities leased under the terms of an operating lease or an indefeasible right of use (IRU) agreement
  • The merger or consolidation of entities
  • Costs incurred in acquiring spectrum as part of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction or in a secondary market acquisition
  • Facilities that provide mobile services
  • Facilities that provide satellite services, including satellite backbone services
  • The acquisition of a system that is providing sufficient access to broadband
  • Refinancing outstanding debt
Contacts:

Laurel Leverrier
Assistant Administrator
(202) 720-9556
laurel.leverrier@usda.gov

Agency Address
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

Contact Notes:

The agency address provided is for reference purposes only.

The information below is from a previous fiscal year and should be used for reference purposes only.

Questions should be directed to Laurel Leverrier.

Applications must be submitted via the link that will be made available online at www.usda.gov/reconnect upon the opening of the application submission window.

Files:
NOFA File: US16816C_PreNOFA_FY2024.pdf (106.4 Kb)
Award File: US16816C_Award_FY2024.pdf (2.3 Mb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16816C_Webinar_FY2024.pdf (102.3 Kb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16816C_OldNOFA_FY2024.pdf (231.0 Kb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16816C_OldProgramRules_FY2024.pdf (119.3 Kb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16816C_OldOverview_FY2024.pdf (19.5 Kb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16816C_OldCorrection_FY2024.pdf (342.8 Kb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16816C_OldWebinarPresentation_FY2024.pdf (2.1 Mb)
Other Pre-Award File: US16816C_OldFAQ_FY2024.zip (945.8 Kb)
File Notes:

The PreNOFA file contains detailed webinar and workshop information for this program. The Webinar file contains information regarding an additional webinar scheduled for this program. The OldNOFA, OldProgramRules, OldOverview, OldCorrection, and OldWebinarPresentation files and OldFAQ folder contain materials from a previous fiscal year and should be used for reference purposes only. The Award file contains information regarding previous awards through this program overall.

February 6, 2024
Information regarding an additional webinar scheduled for this program has been released and attached as the Webinar file. The Application section has been updated accordingly.

Grant Keywords
USDA, RUS, Broadband Pilot Program, Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program, ReConnect Program, broadband, broadband deployment, broadband connection, connectivity, Consolidated Appropriations Act, rural issue, rural area, rural, rural America, community development, infrastructure, territory, territories, high speed internet, high speed broadband, proposed funded service area, PFSA, construct, constructing, construction, improve, improving, improvement, build, building, facility, facilities, equipment, Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, CALEA, satellite broadband service, information technology, IT, telecommunication, advanced, cutting edge, pilot, cyberspace, internet, network, world wide web, economic development, economy, farm, farmer, farming, interactive media, networking, online, technological, technologies, web, access, accessibility, accessible, broadband infrastructure, engineering design, market survey, data transmission, coax, coaxial cable, coax cable, fiber optics, optical fiber, radio, twisted pair, internet access, computer network, telecomms, communication, communicate, infrastructure development, investment, rural connectivity, rural broadband, rural internet, rural infrastructure, high-speed internet, rural resident, rural service, rural utility, rural utilities, tribe, tribal
Grant Categories
Community Development
Economic Development
Information Technology/Telecommunications
Rural Issues