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The Voice of the

Commonwealth's Counties

USDA to provide $600 million to expand access to the internet – deadline to apply for first round of grants is May 31

Last year the U.S. Congress approved $600 million in appropriations to expand broadband infrastructure in rural areas. The ReConnect Loan and Grant Program has announced that it will begin accepting the first round of online applications starting April 23, 2019.

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;
  • July 12, 2019, for low-interest loans.

Applicants can request technical assistance from USDA by filling out this contact form.

Counties as well as telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, and internet service providers 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.

For additional information, see page 5981 of the Feb. 25, 2019, Federal Register and page 64315 of the Dec. 14, 2018, Federal Register or visit

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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