The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development announced $8.9 million in broadband grant funds are available for connecting essential community facilities to high-speed telecommunications in rural towns and communities where no broadband service exists.
More than $30 million in three years have been invested by USDA Rural Development to open the door to broadband infrastructure through the Community Connect Broadband Grant Program. To date, 90 communities have participated in the program to connect essential services of police and fire protection, local government, hospitals, libraries and schools to broadband service. For their part of the project, the communities will make at least 10 computers available to the public with set hours and instruction available for use on the internet.
The notice of funding availability (NOFA) appeared in the March 30, 2005 Federal Register. All publications must be received or carry proof of shipping no later than 60 days after the publication of the NOFA. Submit electronic grant applications at www.grants.gov and follow the instructions found on the web site. Completed paper applications are to be submitted to the USDA Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 2845, Stop 1550, Washington, DC 20250-1550.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development has invested over $50 billion since the beginning of the Bush Administration to provide equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. As a result, over 800,000 jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available online at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/wa.