USDA announces availability of $25 million to help expand high-speed internet access to rural areas


STILLWATER, Okla. – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Oklahoma State Director Kenneth Corn announced today that USDA is making available $25 million through the Broadband Technical Assistance (BTA) Program to help local organizations, cooperatives and Tribes expand affordable, high-speed internet projects in rural communities. The Department will begin accepting applications on June 21, 2024.

Funding is made possible through President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It reflects the goals of the President’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild the economy from the bottom up and middle out, and to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure.

“President Biden is committed to making sure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet,” Corn said. “Through the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is partnering with small towns, Tribal Nations, local utilities, rural cooperatives, and private companies to bring access to healthcare, education and financial institutions to rural communities, who have been left behind in the digital era. This how we grow the economy – not just in rural communities, but across the nation.”

The BTA program provides funding to help communities and organizations receive or deliver broadband technical assistance and training that will expand high-speed internet into rural and Tribal communities. This includes providing funding for feasibility studies, network designs, hiring efforts, application development assistance and more.

Through this program, USDA is helping rural communities identify and pursue opportunities to meet the Administration’s goal to connect every community in America with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.

Today’s announcement marks the second round of funding for the program. In its first round, the program received 96 applications requesting a total of $44.5 million.

In this second round, applicants must apply through one of two funding categories.

Under the Technical Assistance Providers category, applicants must propose to deliver broadband technical assistance that will benefit rural communities. Up to $15 million is available. The minimum award is $100,000. The maximum is $1 million.

Under the Technical Assistance Recipients category, applicants must be the recipients of the broadband technical assistance. Up to $10 million is available. The minimum award is $50,000. The maximum is $500,000.

Applications must be submitted electronically using no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 20, 2024.

Additional information is available on page 52012 of the June 21, 2024, Federal Register.

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