Community Connect Grant Program
A - Primarily intended to fund technology
The Community-Oriented Connectivity Broadband Grant Program (Community Connect Grant Program) is designed to provide financial assistance to provide service at the Broadband Grant Speed in rural, economically-challenged communities where broadband service does not currently exist.
Grant funds may be used to:
- Deploy Broadband service to community facilities, rural residents, and rural businesses,
- Construct, acquire, or expand a community center, and
- Equip a community center that provides free access to service at the Broadband Grant Speed to community residents for at least two years.
To be eligible for a grant, the Project must:
- Serve a Proposed Funded Service Area (PFSA) where Broadband Service (4 Mbps/1 Mbps) does not currently exist. The PFSA is defined as a contiguous geographic area within an eligible rural area.
- When determining if a PFSA has no existing Broadband Service, applicants should refer to the Federal Communication Commissions National Broadband Map, available at: http://www.broadbandmap.gov/.
- Offer Broadband service to ALL residential and business customers within the PFSA.
- Offer service at the Broadband Grant Speed, free of all charges for at least 2 years starting from the time service becomes available to each Critical Community Facility (e.g. public schools, public libraries, public medical clinics, public hospitals, community colleges, public universities, law enforcement, and fire and ambulance stations) located within the PFSA.
- Provide a Community Center located in the PFSA, with at least two Computer Access Points and wireless access at the Broadband Grant Speed (10 Mbps/1 Mbps), free of all charges, to users for at least 2 years and open and accessible to the public before, during and after normal working hours and on Saturdays or Sundays. Up to 10 Computer Access Points may be funded with grant funds.
- Not overlap with the service areas of current RUS borrowers and grantees.
History of Funding
History of funding can be found at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/UTP-CCProjectSummaries2015.pdf.
Funds may be used for:
Other grant requirements:
- Construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, spectrum and land used to deploy service for:
- All residential and business customers located within the proposed funded service area.
- All participating critical community facilities
- The cost of providing broadband service free of charge to critical community facilities for 2 years;
- Less than 10% of the grant amount or up to $150,000 may be used for the improvement, expansion, construction or acquisition of a community center that provides online access to the public.
- Buildings constructed with grant funds must be located on property owned by the awardee;
- Leasing expenses will only be covered through the advance of funds period included in the award documents;
- Grantees must have legal authority to provide, construct, operate and maintain the proposed facilities or services;
- Partnerships with other federal, state, local, private and non-profit entities are encouraged;
Only entities legally organized as one of the following are eligible for funding:
Rural areas that lack any existing broadband speed of at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream is eligible.
- An incorporated organization;
- An Indian tribe of tribal organization
- A state or local unit of government; or
- A cooperative, private corporation, or limited liability company organized on a for profit or not for profit basis.
Applications are to be submitted by March 13, 2017. A similar deadline is anticipated annually.
For FY 2017, there is $10,000,000 available for grants. Grants will range from $100,000 to $3,000,000. Matching funds of at least 15% from non-federal sources are required and can be used for operating costs. There are 10 expected awards.
Any applicant submitting multiple applications for financial assistance must demonstrate that it has the financial resources to support all submitted applications. For example, if three applications are submitted by one entity and each application proposes to fulfill the matching requirement through $100,000 in cash, then the applicant must demonstrate that they have at least $300,000 in cash on hand at the time applications are submitted.
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