StimulatingBroadband.com 04/20/09 The Community Connect Program of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), division of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), will post its Notice stating available funds for the Program's 2009 grant cycle within the next 12 to 18 hours.
The Notice will state the grant application deadline date for 2009 applications is June 19, 2009.
The Program within RUS funds telecommunications networks in designated rural and underserved areas of the domestic United States, with grants, loans, and loan guarantees.
The Community Connect Program is funded with annual federal appropriations for the USDA in the range of $20 million to $25 million. The Program is strongly supported by Members of Congress from rural states who routinely work to include the programmatic funding in each federal funding cycle's Farm Bill. The RUS previously announced that "25 communities in 16 states" received a total of "$15.6 million in broadband community connect grants" in the 2008 funding round.
Sources within the USDA have told StimulatingBroadband.com that the funds Notice will be posted either this evening, April 20, or Tuesday morning, April 21, Washington time (EDT).
Deadlines for grant, loan, and loan guarantee applications, and other terms and conditions of the Program, will be posted on the website of the "Rural Development Community Connect Grant Program," at: http://www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/commconnect.htm
Note: The annual appropriations and programmatic guidelines for the Community Connect Program are distinct from the $2.5 billion in appropriations and guidelines yet to be issued for the RUS portion of the "broadband stimulus" funds contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the ARRA-derived RUS program is expected to be released on or about June 12, 2009 as previously reported by StimulatingBroadband.com here.
The June 12 target date for the NOFA is expected to be a joint issuance with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as the rulemaking proceeding has been jointly conducted by both agencies to date.