The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the Department of Agriculture is soliciting applications for grants under its Community Connect Grant Program. We attach the May 3, 2012, FEDERAL REGISTER notice. The program is designed to help bring broadband transmission service to rural low-income communities in an effort to enhance economic development and educational and health care opportunities. Tribes and tribal organizations are among the eligible applicants.
The RUS has $10,372,000 in FY 2012 funds for this solicitation. Grants will range from $100,000 to $1.5 million. A 15 percent match, in cash or in-kind (new, non-depreciated items), is required. The deadline for receipt of applications is June 18, 2012.
To be eligible for a grant, a project must:
• Serve a rural area where broadband transmission service does not currently exist
• Serve one rural community that is recognized in the latest U.S. Census or the most recent edition of the Rand McNally Atlas containing population data
• Deploy basic broadband transmission service, free of all charges for at least two years, to all critical community facilities located within the proposed service area
• Offer basic broadband transmission service to residential and business customers within the proposed service area, and
• Provide a community center with at least ten computer access points within the proposed service area, and make broadband transmission service available therein, free of all charges to users for at least two years
Application materials for the Community Connect Grant Program may be found at the following website: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding the Community Connect Grant Program.