Efforts to bring rural parts of the nation high-speed internet continue, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announcing expansion of the ReConnect program. New applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans will be accepted beginning Nov. 24.
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area without broadband service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload), and commit to building facilities capable of providing broadband service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area. In making funding decisions, USDA will prioritize projects that will serve low-density rural areas with locations lacking internet access services at speeds of at least 25 Mbps (download) and 3 Mbps (upload).
Other considerations may include economic needs, available options for residents, and whether projects serve tribal lands or are submitted by a local government, Tribal Government, non-profit or cooperative.