Community Connect Grant Program

To encourage community-oriented connectivity by providing grants to eligible applicants who will deploy broadband transmission service in rural communities where such service does not currently exist; who will connect all critical community facilities such as local schools, education centers, libraries,

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hospitals, health care providers, law enforcement agencies, public safety organizations, fire, and rescue services, as well as residents and businesses; and who will operate a community center which provides free and open access to area residents.
Examples of Funded Projects

The grant funds will establish a broadband path to the Internet over an existing microwave route.

Broadband will be delivered to homes and businesses using DSL technology.

Internet traffic will be handled economically and efficiently by equipping the community with equipment to enable it to interface with the applicant's satellite mesh technology.

Demographic barriers to broadband adoption will be overcome by equipping a community center with computers and Internet access free of charge for 2 years.

The project will provide wireless broadband internet service to the community.

The project will connect all community critical facilities, businesses, the elementary school, and homes on the reservation.

Public safety and health organizations will have improved communications, which can be life saving in emergency situations.

The community center will be accessible to residents for information research, education, marketing and promotion, and personal or business communications using high-speed internet.

All center workstations will have GED and other self paced interactive learning software installed and the center will also provide basic computer and internet skill training to end-users.

The project will create a tribal website and digital community bulletin board to enhance communication within the tribal organization and with community members.

The project will employ broadband wireless technology to reach locations where only slow (14.4Kb/sec), expensive (long-distance) wireline Internet connections exist.

In addition to providing residential access, the project will enable the local government to enhance and streamline core public services including Head Start, tribal courts, cultural and social services, and community health outreach efforts.

The grant will address community challenges including the lack of a library, hospital, and police department by providing broadband Internet access to the community.

High-speed online connections will establish online city services to benefit the residents, including the remote monitoring of water resources, and a Web presence to assist with economic development efforts.

The community will have access to computer training and education in e commerce; students will have access to distance learning programs and enhanced curricula.

The RUS grant will fund a community center, including computers and staff for 2 years.

The applicant, a local telephone carrier, will also provide a fiber to the premises (FTTP) network for the town, in an effort to bolster economic development opportunities, as the area's economy transitions away from complete reliance on production agriculture.

"Always-on" Internet access can encourage new business migration, telecommuting and local entrepreneurs.


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.


Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories




Program Accomplishments

Not available.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants will be made available, on a competitive basis, for the deployment of broadband transmission services to critical community facilities, rural residents, and rural businesses and for the construction, acquisition, expansion, and/or operation of a community center which would provide free access to broadband transmission services to community residents for at least two years.

Funding is also available for end-user equipment, software, and installation costs.

See 7 CFR Part 1739 for details.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must: (a) be legally organized as an incorporated organization, an Indian tribe or tribal organization, a state or local unit of government, or other legal entity, including cooperatives or private corporations or limited liability companies organized on a for profit or not-for profit basis, and (b) have the legal capacity and authority to own and operate the broadband facilities as proposed in its application, to enter into contracts and to otherwise comply with applicable federal statutes and regulations.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The people living in rural areas and to improve rural opportunities through the availability of access to high speed broadband networks.

Credentials/Documentation

None.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

None required.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

Submit an application in accordance with 7 CFR 1739 and its accompanying application guide.

Award Procedures

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to applicants receiving the highest number of points.

Deadlines

RUS annually publishes application dates and deadlines in a Notice of Funding Availability.

Authorization

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005; Title III: Rural Development Programs; Rural Utilities Service; Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program; Public Law 108-447.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Applications are approved each fiscal year for which funding is made available.

Appeals

None.

Renewals

Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no formula requirements. The grant applicant must contribute a matching contribution which is at least 15 percent of the grant amount requested.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Funds may be advanced monthly or as needed to reimburse disbursements for approved grant purposes. Applicants generally have three years to spend funds. Extensions may be granted.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

SF 269, "Financial Status Report," and project performance activity report required annually.

Audits

An audit report is required for the years in which funds are received.

Records

Grantee will provide evidence that funds are expended for approved purposes.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1232-0-1-452.

Obigations

(Grants) FY 07 $0; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

The minimum grant amount is $50,000. The size of grants varies.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR 1739 Notice of solicitation of applications in the Federal Register; Vol. 70, No. 60; Wednesday, March 30, 2005. Community Connect Broadband Program Grant Application Guide - Fiscal Year 2005.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service, Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., STOP 1590, Room 5151, Washington, DC 20250 1590. Telephone: (202) 720 9554, Fax: (202) 720-0810.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not applicable.



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