- Granting Agency: Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service
- Appropriation Amount: $1,150,000,000
- Grant Amount: Award Ceiling $35,000,000, Award Floor $100,000, (100% loan, 50%loan/50%grant, 100% Grant with 25% match)
- Announcement Date: October 25, 2021
- Closing Date: Extended to March 9, 2022
Purpose: The 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 rural economic development and opportunities in rural America. 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.
In addition, the Agency would like to highlight the importance of creating good-paying jobs with strong labor standards.
- To fund the construction or improvement of facilities required to provide fixed terrestrial broadband service.
Eligible facilities include buildings, land, and fixed wireless service. If other services will be provided over these facilities, then award funds may also be used to acquire the additional equipment. For example, awards funds may be used to purchase equipment that is required to comply with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, 47 U.S.C §1001 et seq (CALEA).
- To fund reasonable pre-application expenses.
Funding for pre-application expenses may not exceed five percent of the award. Pre-application expenses must be included in the first request for advance of award funds and will be funded with either grant or loan funds. If the funding category applied for has a grant component, then grant funds will be used for this purpose. If pre-application expenses are not included in the first request for advance of award funds, they will become an ineligible purpose. Costs associated with satisfying the environmental review requirements are eligible for reimbursement under this category. Up to 3% of the total award can be used to cover costs associated with satisfying the environmental review requirements. The environmental review costs count as part of the overall 5% allowable for pre-application expenses.
- To fund the acquisition of an existing system that does not currently provide sufficient access to broadband (eligible for 100 percent loan requests only).
The cost of the existing system acquisition is limited to 40 percent of the award amount requested. After improvements are made, the upgraded system must meet the minimum requirements of the most recent FOA.
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
City or township governments
Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Independent school districts
For profit organizations other than small businesses
Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
Special district governments
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education