Rural Broadband & Energy Project Funding Opportunities

Upcoming Deadlines for USDA Grants & Financing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Rural Development has funding opportunities to support rural broadband and energy projects for communities like those in Addison County. Information, including upcoming deadlines, regarding these programs is described below. 

Rural Energy for America Grants & Guaranteed Loans:

USDA Rural Development is seeking applications for its Rural Energy for America Program. The program provides grants to for-profit farmers and small businesses to support the installation of renewable energy and energy improvements. Applicants may apply for up to 25% of the total project costs. Energy efficiency grants can range from $1,500 to $250,000 while renewable energy grants range from $2,500 to $500,000. Examples of former projects include, but are not limited to, the installation of wood pellet boilers, solar panels, insulation, led lighting, milk chillers, and reverse osmosis machines.

Application information can be found on the USDA’s website. Interested applicants can contact Energy Program Coordinator Ken Yearman at (802) 828-6070 or   Kenneth.yearman@vt.usda.govSpring applications are due by Monday, April 30, 2018.

Community Connect Grants:

USDA is accepting applications through Monday, May 14, 2018 in the Community Connect program. Grants from $100,000 to $3 million are available to state and local governments, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits and for-profit corporations. Applicants must be able to provide a 15% match on the desired grant amount.          

The funds must be used to provide broadband service at a minimum rate-of-data transmission of 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream, which is the speed benchmark that the Federal Communications Commission has officially adopted for broadband connectivity. Awardees must use USDA funding to offer free broadband service to all critical community facilities in their proposed service areas for two years and provide a community center with free broadband service for two years.

For more details on this grant opportunity, see page 11494 of the March 15 Federal Register. Rural Development will host two webinars regarding the environmental requirements for application on 

  • Thursday, April 5 at 2-3:00 pm 
  • Tuesday, April 10 at 1-2:00 pm

For more information and to register, visit Rural Development’s website.  

Interested applicants can reach out to USDA Rural Development’s northeast General Field Representative Kenrick Gordon at kenrick.gordon@wdc.usda.gov or (717) 433-8998 or to Community Loan Specialist Eric Law at eric.law@vt.usda.gov or (802) 828-6033.

Rural Broadband Access Loans & Loan Guarantees:

USDA is accepting applications through Sunday, September 30, 2018 for the Rural Broadband Program. Non-profit, for-profit, cooperative and government entities may apply for financing to construct, improve and acquire facilities or equipment that will provide broadband services to eligible rural areas. Loan amounts range from $100,000 to $25,000,000.

Applications will be processed on a first come, first serve basis and ranked based on the percentage of unserved households that the applicant proposes to serve. Applications can be submitted online through RD Apply. For more details on this application process, see page 13225 of the March 28 Federal Register.

Interested applicants can reach out to USDA Rural Development’s northeast General Field Representative Kenrick Gordon at kenrick.gordon@wdc.usda.gov or (717) 433-8998 or to Community Loan Specialist Eric Law at eric.law@vt.usda.gov or (802) 828-6033.