As I (Storm Cunningham) have been preaching in my talks and workshops for many years, there are few infrastructure renewal projects that are more revitalizing for a rural town or region than upgrading to fiber optic telecommunications.
A community can run the most brilliant business and resident attraction program in the world, and have the most beautiful downtown and natural resources, but without broadband internet access, they will be spinning their wheels. Broadband isn’t “nice to have”: it’s essential.
During the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) realized this and launched the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program. The current administration hasn’t killed the program (yet), so you can still apply for FY2019 funding.
The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (Broadband Program) furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas.
To be eligible for a broadband loan, an applicant may be either a non-profit or for-profit organization, and must take one of the following forms:
- Limited liability company (LLC);
- Cooperative or mutual organization;
- A state or local unit of government; and
- Indian tribe or tribal organization.
The application deadline is September 30, 2019.
Image via Adobe Stock.