Broadband Initiatives Program

The purpose of the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) to make loans and grants for the purpose of facilitating broadband deployment in rural communities.



Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.



Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Under BIP, RUS will award grants, loans, and loan/grant combinations for broadband infrastructure.

Grants under BIP are to be used to fund applications proposing to exclusively serve remote, unserved, rural areas.

BIP loan and loan/grant combination funds are to be
used to provide funding to applications proposing to serve non-remote and underserved rural areas.

Projects which include non-remote and remote areas will be funded by loans or loan/grant combinations.

The size of the grant portion of any loan/grant combination award is determined by the applicant, but cannot exceed the amount of the loan portion of the award.

RUS will favor applications that propose a higher percentage of loan funds.

Applicants may request 100 percent loan funding.

RUS will seek to make the extension of broadband infrastructure into difficult-to-serve areas affordable-a key objective of BIP funding-through
substantial grant funds and attractive loan terms with reasonable security requirements.

The following terms shall apply to the loans, as well as other terms that are specified in the loan documents:
i.

Interest rate.

Loans shall bear interest at a rate equal to the cost of borrowing to the Department of Treasury for obligations of comparable maturity.

The applicable interest rate
will be set at the time of each advance.

ii.

Repayment period.

Unless the applicant requests a shorter repayment period, broadband loans must be repaid with interest within a period that, rounded to the nearest whole year, is
equal to the expected Composite Economic Life of the assets to be financed, as determined by RUS based upon acceptable depreciation rates.

iii.

Amortization period.

Interest begins accruing on the date of each loan advance and interest payments are due monthly.

Upon completion of the buildout, or a date certain that is determined at closing, whichever occurs first, monthly principal payments will be established in an amount that amortizes the outstanding balance over the remaining term of the loan.

iv.

Fidelity bonding.

Applicants must agree to obtain a fidelity bond for 15 percent of the loan amount.

The fidelity bond must be obtained as a condition of loan closing.

RUS may reduce the percentage required if it determines that 15 percent is not commensurate with the risk involved.

v.

Security.

The loan portion of the award must be adequately secured, as determined by RUS.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Government - General: No Functional Application/Unlimited Application.

State (includes District of Columbia, public institutions of higher education and hospitals): No Functional Application/Unlimited Application.

Local (includes State-designated lndian Tribes, excludes institutions of higher education and hospitals: No Functional Application/Unlimited Application.

Public nonprofit institution/organization (includes institutions of higher education and hospitals): No Functional Application/Unlimited Application.

Federally Recognized lndian Tribal Governments: No Functional Application/Unlimited Application.

U.S.

Territories and possessions (includes institutions of higher education and hospitals): No Functional Application/Unlimited Application.

Non-Government - General: No Functional Application/Unlimited Application.

Minority group: No Functional Application/Unlimited Application.

Native American Organizations (includes lndian groups, cooperatives, corporations, partnerships, associations): No Functional Application/Unlimited Application

Beneficiary Eligibility

Anyone/general public

Credentials/Documentation

Applicants must certify that the organization is in compliance, or will comply, with the Department of Agriculture assurances included in the standard application. Applicants must also provide assurances that they will substantially complete funded projects in accordance with project timelines. BIP applicants must commit to the following Nondiscrimination and
Interconnection Obligations: i. Adhere to the principles contained in the FCC s Internet Policy Statement (FCC 05-151, adopted August 5, 2005); ii. not favor any lawful Internet applications and content over others; iii. display any network management policies in a
prominent location on the service provider s web page and provide notice to customers of changes to these policies (awardees must describe any business practices or technical mechanisms they employ, other than standard best efforts Internet delivery, to allocate capacity; differentiate among applications, providers, or sources; limit usage; and manage illegal or harmful content); iv. connect to the public Internet directly or indirectly, such that the project is not an entirely private closed network; and v. offer interconnection, where technically feasible without exceeding current or reasonably anticipated capacity limitations, on reasonable rates and terms to be negotiated with requesting parties. This includes both the ability to connect to the public Internet and physical interconnection for the exchange of traffic. Applicants must disclose their proposed interconnection, nondiscrimination, and network management practices with the application. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Program staff members are available to provide technical and other assistance to potential applicants regarding the requirements of the Broadband Initiatives Program.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program.

Award Procedures

Applications are reviewed on the basis of funding criteria as established in the Notice of Funding Availability.

Deadlines

Jul 14, 2009 to Aug 14, 2009

Authorization

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
, Public Law 111-5, 123 Stat. 115, 7 U.S.C 901.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 90 to 120 days. All awards under BIP must be made no later than September 30, 2010.

Appeals

All award decisions are final. There is no administrative appeal process.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula.

This program has no matching requirements.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

While the completion time will vary depending on the complexity of the project, award recipients must substantially complete projects supported by this program no later than two years, and projects must be fully completed no later than three years, following the date of issuance of the award. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Financial assistance is generally released as required during the award.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Financial and progress reports are to be submitted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award, and are due on a quarterly basis.

RUS may establish additional reporting and information requirements for any recipient of an award.

No cash reports are required.

As required by Section 1512 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) and OMB guidance, each recipient is required to report the following information to RUS ten days after the end of each calendar quarter.

As prescribed by the Recovery Act, these reports will include:
1.

The total amount of recovery funds received from RUS.
2.

The amount of recovery funds received that were obligated and expended to projects or activities.

This reporting will also include unobligated allotment balances to facilitate reconciliations.
3.

A detailed list of all projects or activities for which Recovery Act funds were obligated and expended, including-
a.

The name of the project or activity;
b.

A description of the project or activity;
c.

An evaluation of the completion status of the project or activity;
d.

An estimate of the number of jobs created and the number of jobs retained by the project or activity; and
e.

For infrastructure investments made by State and local governments, the purpose, total cost, and rationale of the agency for funding the infrastructure investment with funds made available under this Act, and name the person to contact at the agency if there are concerns with the infrastructure investment.

No cash reports are required.

See above reporting requirements.

See above reporting requirements.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Audits will be conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award and OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, (Revised, June 27, 2003)

Records

All financial and programmatic records, supporting documents, statistical reports and other records of recipients or subrecipients must be maintained in accordance with the terms of the award. Generally, the recipient must retain records for three years from the date on which the final expenditure report is submitted or the Loan is Paid in Full.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1232-0-1-452.

Obigations

(Direct Loans) FY 08 not reported.; FY 09 est not reported.; FY 10 est not reported. (Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 08 not reported.; FY 09 est not reported.; FY 10 est not reported. - Up to $1,200,000,000 is available for Last Mile projects. These projects may consist of Remote Area projects or Non-Remote projects.

Up to $400,000,000 is available for grants for Remote Area projects.

Up to $800,000,000 is available for loans or loan/grant combinations for Non-Remote projects.

Up to $800,000,000 is available for loans or loan/grant combinations for Middle Mile projects.

Funds made available but not used during the first NOFA round may be directed to subsequent NOFAs.

All awards under BIP must be made no later than September 30, 2010.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

To Be Determined.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The application package containing the Notice of Funding Availability, application forms and guidelines are available at www.broadbandusa.gov.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Assistant Administrator 1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Stop 1599
, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: bip@wdc.usda.gov Phone: (202) 690-0525

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

In determining whether to approve an application, in whole or in part, and the amount of the loan, loan/grant combination or grant, RUS will consider the project"s conformance with the program puposes and funding criteria set forth in the legislation and the Notice of Funding Availability.



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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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