$25 Million boost for rural internet access

Jun 24, 2024

Administration funds broadband expansion

By Farms.com

The Administration recently announced a $25 million funding initiative to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas. This move is part of the Investing in America agenda, aimed at strengthening the nation’s infrastructure.

The funding is made available through the Broadband Technical Assistance (BTA) Program, managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The program aims to assist local organizations, cooperatives, and Tribes in developing affordable internet projects in rural communities. The initiative is a reflection of the President’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

Under Secretary of USDA Rural Development, Dr. Basil Gooden, emphasized the administration’s commitment to ensuring high-speed internet access for all, regardless of their location. The USDA is partnering with small towns, Tribes, local utilities, rural cooperatives, and private companies to increase access to this critical service.

The BTA program provides funding for feasibility studies, network designs, hiring efforts, application development assistance, and more. It aims to help rural communities identify and pursue opportunities to meet the Administration’s goal of connecting every community in America with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.

This announcement marks the second round of funding for the program. In this round, applicants can apply under two categories - Technical Assistance Providers and Technical Assistance Recipients. The former category has up to $15 million available, with awards ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. The latter category has up to $10 million available, with awards ranging from $50,000 to $500,000.

Applications will be evaluated according to USDA’s new scoring criteria, which includes points for projects seeking to serve distressed communities and advance racial justice, place-based equity, and opportunity.


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