Community Connect Grant Program

To encourage community-oriented connectivity by providing grants to eligible applicants who will deploy broadband transmission service in rural communities where such service does not currently exist; who will connect all critical community facilities such as local schools, education centers, libraries,

credit: Preservation Directory
hospitals, health care providers, law enforcement agencies, public safety organizations, fire, and rescue services, as well as residents and businesses; and who will operate a community center which provides free and open access to area residents.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.


Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories





Selected Recipients for this Program


RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative, Inc. $ 3,000,000   2019-12-232021-12-23
Pine Cellular Phones, Inc. $ 2,643,900   2019-12-232021-12-23
Washoe Tribe Of Nevada & California $ 137,429   2019-12-232021-12-23
Pine Telephone Company, Inc. $ 2,544,250   2019-12-232021-12-23
Crystal Broadband Networks, Inc. $ 2,386,350   2019-09-252021-09-25
Igotechnology, Inc. $ 3,000,000   2019-09-162021-09-16
Clearfiber Inc. $ 1,960,000   2019-09-162021-09-16
Preston County Economic Development Authority $ 3,000,000   2019-09-162021-09-16
Scott County Telephone Co-operative $ 3,000,000   2019-09-162021-09-16
Comcell, Inc $ 2,307,250   2019-09-162021-09-16



Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: In FY 2016, grants totaled $15,604,851 and benefited 5 states. Fiscal Year 2017: In FY 2017, the application window closed on June 16, 2017. As of that date RUS received 72 applications which are currently going through the review process. Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available

Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants will be made available, on a competitive basis, for the deployment of broadband services to critical community facilities, rural residents, and rural businesses and for the operation of a community center which would provide free access to broadband services to community residents for at least two years.

.

See 7 CFR Part 1739 for details.

Funds can only be used for purposes specifically authorized in the regulation, per 7 CFR 1739.12.

Funds are authorized for this program in the Appropriations Bill for the Department of Agriculture for each fiscal year.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must: (a) be legally organized as an incorporated organization, an Indian tribe or tribal organization, a state or local unit of government, or other legal entity, including cooperatives or private corporations or limited liability companies organized on a for profit or not-for profit basis, and (b) have the legal capacity and authority to own and operate the broadband facilities as proposed in its application, to enter into contracts and to otherwise comply with applicable federal statutes and regulations.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The people living in rural areas and to improve rural opportunities through the availability of access to high speed broadband networks.

Credentials/Documentation

No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is required.

An environmental impact assessment is required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Submit an application in accordance with 7 CFR 1739 and its accompanying application guide.

Award Procedures

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to applicants receiving the highest number of points.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005; Title III: Rural Development Programs; Rural Utilities Service; Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program; Public Law 108-447.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Applications are approved each fiscal year for which funding is made available.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching Requirements: Percent: 15%. The grant applicant must contribute a matching contribution which is at least 15 percent of the grant amount requested and this must be in cash in an account of the awardee at the time of closing. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Applicants generally have three years to spend funds. Extensions may be granted. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Funds may be advanced monthly or as needed to reimburse disbursements for approved grant purposes. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Funds may be advanced monthly or as needed to reimburse disbursements for approved grant purposes.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Program reports are not applicable.

Cash reports are not applicable.

Progress reports are not applicable.

The disbursal of funds is made on the basis of invoices for eligible purposes.

To this extent, RUS is aware of all expenditures for which reimbursement is sought.

Projects are also periodically audited by field accounting staff.

Project performance activity reports are required annually.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements, Subpart F, Audit Requirements (Revised, December 26, 2013) nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Subpart F. Entities which do not meet the criteria for applicability in 2 CFR 200 will have an audit prepared in accordance with 7 CFR 1773, Policy on Audits of RUS Borrowers and Grantees.

Records

Grantee will provide evidence that funds are expended for approved purposes. For profit entities owe an audit for any year in which funds are expended. Other entities (state and local governments, non-profits, etc.) are subject only if more than $750,000 is expended.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1232-0-1-452.

Obigations

(Project Grants) FY 16 $15,604,851; FY 17 est $34,500,000; and FY 18 est $20,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

The Agency will publish, annually in the Federal Register, a Notice of Funds Availability that sets forth the maximum and minimum funding for each grant. In FY 2016, grants ranged from $481,000 to $3,000,000 and averaged $1,733,872. In FY 2017, grants can range from $500,000 to $3,000,000 and the average will not be known until selections are made.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR 1739: Broadband Grant Program, Subpart A - Community Connect Grant Program

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., STOP 1590, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Phone: (202) 720-9554.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.



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