As a result of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, funds for the development and facilitation of broadband access in rural areas across the United States are widely available. Loans and grants are being awarded at both the federal and state levels through several different programs to help supplement broadband service providers with the costs of building out to rural areas that currently do not have sufficient access today.
As a service provider, you may be at one or multiple stages in the government funding process – planning how to use awarded funds, waiting on the announcement of awards, in the application process for a grant or loan, or still figuring out if applying to the program is the right choice for you.
Olsen Thielen is here to help answer questions you may have on the federal or state program grants and guide you through the process.
USDA Federal Loan and Grant Program
The USDA is currently reviewing the latest round of grant applications – the window for application submission ended on November 2, 2022. Expect awardees of Round 4 of the ReConnect program to be announced May-July, 2023.
101 projects received funds as a part of the previous round of applications. More information and the list of awardees can be viewed here: https://www.usda.gov/reconnect/round-three-awardees.
Check out the USDA’s website for more specific details on all requirements of the USDA ReConnect Program: https://www.usda.gov/reconnect
Individual State Grants
In addition to the USDA ReConnect Program, there are other opportunities available for broadband service providers based on their individual states.
Below are a few updates on some of the soon-to-be-awarded and currently open-for-application programs in the Midwest:
Minnesota – Border-to-Border grants are available through the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development. Applications have been accepted and awards will be announced sometime this fall in 2022. Keep an eye out for these awards to be posted soon!
North Dakota is currently accepting applications for their grant program – open until December 2. Find more details and the link to the application portal here: https://www.ndit.nd.gov/about-us/broadband/american-rescue-plan-act#ndit.nd.gov/american-rescue-plan-act.
As a broadband service provider, the options available to you for seeking additional funding for rural broadband expansion and the process for applying, receiving, and utilizing the funds can be overwhelming. Olsen Thielen is here throughout the entirety of the grant process – including analyzing if and which grant programs are best for you, assisting with your application, and creating 5-year projections.
As an awardee, we help you receive your grant funds according to compliance regulations and work with you to track and ensure your awarded money is being used properly.
Reach out to any of our Telecommunications specialists today to find out more about how Olsen Thielen can work with your company through the rural broadband grant process:
Stay with Olsen Thielen as we continue to monitor the federal and state rural broadband grant and loan programs as awardees are announced and new opportunities become available.