This program provides loan guarantees to eligible private lenders to help build essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.
The Distance Learning and Telemedicine program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density.
The Broadband Program furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas.
The Rural Business Development Grant program provides funding designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 new employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. Programmatic activities are separated into enterprise or opportunity type grant activities.
RCDI grants are awarded to help non-profit housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and federally recognized tribes support housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects in rural areas.
ReConnect offers three types of funding options for broadband infrastructure to connect rural families, businesses, farms, ranches, schools, libraries, and public safety facilities to modern, high-speed internet. A rural area is eligible if it currently does not have sufficient access to broadband. The ReConnect grants, grant and loan combinations, and low-interest loans can be used to construct, improve, and acquire facilities that provide internet services to customers’ premises, with reliable technologies that are suitable for the type of rural community and the type of high-speed internet use.
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The ultimate recipients repay the lending utility directly. The utility is responsible for repayment to USDA.
The Infrastructure program provides financing for the construction, maintenance, improvement and expansion of telephone service and broadband in rural areas.
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has published the FY 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs Notice of Funding Opportunity (PWEAA NOFO). EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs provide economically distressed communities and regions with comprehensive and flexible resources to address a wide variety of economic needs. Projects funded by these programs will support work in Opportunity Zones and will support the mission of the Department by, among other things, leading to the creation and retention of jobs and increased private investment, advancing innovation, enhancing the manufacturing capacities of regions, providing workforce development opportunities, and growing ecosystems that attract foreign direct investment. Through the PWEAA NOFO, EDA solicits applications from applicants in order to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, planning, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works program and EAA programs (which includes Assistance to Coal Communities). Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities, including those negatively impacted by changes to the coal economy. This funding also includes responses to COVID.
The Broadband Infrastructure Program makes grants on a competitive basis to covered partnerships for covered broadband projects. The term “covered partnership” means a partnership between: (A) a State, or one ormore political subdivisions of a State; and (B) a provider of fixed broadband service. A covered partnership may include more than one provider of fixed broadband service as part of its application. Additionally, a provider of fixed broadband service may participate in more than one covered partnership. A provider of broadband service that is part of a covered partnership is not required to be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to section 214(e)of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 214(e)). NTIA encourages municipalities, nonprofits, or cooperatives that own and/or operate broadband networks to participate in this program as part of a covered partnership.