USDA Rural Development will begin accepting the first round of applications for the Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect Program) on April 23, 2019, through usda.gov/reconnect.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. USDA is making available up to $200 million in grants, $200 million in loan and grant combinations, and$200 million in low-interest loans. The application deadlines are:
• May 31, 2019, for grants;
• June 21, 2019, for loan/grant combinations; and
• July 12, 2019, for low-interest loans.
Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers andmunicipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. Funds will be awarded to projects that have financially sustainable business models that will bring high-speed broadband to rural homes, businesses, farms, ranches and community facilities such as first responders, health care sites and schools.
On February 22, 2018 the Federal Communications Commission updated the National Broadband Map, replacing the original map that was released seven years ago by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The current map also has the ability to overlay satellite imagery. The map is currently using data collected in December 2016 based on Form 477 filings that broadband providers must make with the FCC. Continue reading →
Public Officials in Richmond, Virginia are testing the FirstNet’s public safety wireless network, as of last month. Richmond and Fairfax counties are the first localities in Virginia that will be using the network. This move to use the network will hopefully prompt the system to be in full use by the end of 2018. Continue reading →
The FCC has just released the final Order in the Federal Register to eliminate Net Neutrality. The Repeal will take place on April 23rd with further changes will happen after that date. Continue reading →
Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that there will be a regulation improvement for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. Continue reading →
The FCC has put out an updated map that identifies census block groups that are eligible for the CAF II Auction (Auction 93). The auction will use competitive building to allocate up to $1.98 billion of support over the next 10 years in high-cost rural areas. Continue reading →