The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $20 million to deliver broadband resources for rural communities under the new Broadband Technical Assistance Program. This program was created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support technical assistance projects and help organizations access federal resources and conduct data collection. Townships within a defined rural area are eligible to apply through June 20.
For the purposes of this program, a rural area is defined as “any area not located in a city, town, or incorporated area with a population greater than 20,000, or an urbanized area next to a city, town or incorporated area with a population greater than 50,000 people.” The USDA has developed a mapping tool with additional eligibility information. Please note that townships within areas highlighted in pink as “distressed energy communities” are eligible to apply.
Eligible projects include planning for delivering broadband service; identifying resources to finance broadband facilities; preparing studies, reports, and surveys necessary to support broadband services; and improving broadband facilities management and operations.