USDA Invites Applications for Grants to Provide Broadband Service to Remote Rural Communities
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA will be accepting applications for the Community Connect Broadband program for grants to provide broadband service to residents of remote, rural communities through June 18, 2012.
Information on available funding and application requirements are published on page 26241 of the May 3, 2012 Federal Register. More information on Community Connect Grants, including the application guide, can be viewed from the USDA Rural Development website.
Community Connect grant funds are designated to build broadband infrastructure to the most rural, unserved and economically challenged areas. Awardees are required to establish community centers that offer free public access to broadband. Eligible areas include single communities with a population less than 20,000 which does not have Broadband Transmission Service
The town of Brownington, MO is an example of how these funds have been allocated in the past. According to the USDA blog, Brownington, “nestled comfortably along the Harry S. Truman Lake, consists of 119 residents with 68 housing units covering a land area of only 0.15 sq. miles. Their numbers may be small, but their courage and determination to revive their community is remarkable.
“To the delight of the residents, the Village was recently awarded a grant [in 2011] for access to broadband service and the construction of a Community Center. The broadband service is a result of a program administered by USDA Rural Development. The program known as “Community Connect” provides grants to eligible applicants to establish broadband service in rural communities that are not currently served.”
Photo caption: The Community Center in Brownington, Missouri, now offers free Internet thanks to a USDA Community Connect grant. USDA photo.