Federal loans and grants available to bring high-speed broadband to rural areas

Mar 04, 2020

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Topeka, Kan. – The Kansas State Department of Commerce announces today that applications are being accepted for the second round of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program. ReConnect is a USDA program that furnishes loans and grants to fund the costs of construction, improvement or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

As with the first funding round, USDA scoring includes points for states which have a broadband plan, and commit to expediting certain processes. Commerce is working with the USDA to ensure Kansas applicants are as competitive as possible.

Applications will be accepted until 6:00PM EST on March 31, 2020. Applications are made through the USDA, but Kansas applicants must obtain a state certification letter from the Kansas Department of Commerce to submit with their USDA application. The state certification letter can be obtained at www.kansascommerce.gov/sign-up/.

Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s broadband 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.

Broadband constitutes critical infrastructure for the prosperity of all Kansans, especially in rural and non-competitive areas. The delivery of broadband connection and high-quality service will enable technologies critical to rural communities, such as precision agriculture, and will fuel long-term economic development opportunities in rural America.

For more information on obtaining a state certification letter, visit www.kansascommerce.gov/the-kansas-edge/utilities/broadband-initiative/reconnect-for-rural-e-connectivity/.

To apply to the ReConnect Program, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.

Pictured: Parsons, KS, recipient of 2019 ReConnect funds