On December 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a Funding Opportunity Announcement for a new pilot program offering federal funding opportunities to facilitate broadband deployment in rural America. The program, known as the ReConnect Program, will award up to $600 million through grants, loans and grant/loan combinations to entities capable of providing retail broadband service to customers in rural areas currently lacking sufficient broadband access. Eligible applicants include, among others, Indian Tribes as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, 25 U.S.C. § 450b. Program funds may be used for construction, improvement and acquisition of qualifying facilities, acquisition of an existing system under certain circumstances, and to cover some pre-application expenses.
USDA's ReConnect Program resource page can be found at: https://reconnect.usda.gov/s/.
The Funding Opportunity Announcement in the Federal Register can be found at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-12-14/pdf/2018-27038.pdf.
Information about upcoming USDA webinars and workshops can be found at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/files/RD_ReConnectWebinarFlyer122018.pdf.