Program Description

The purpose of this program is to provide loans to fund the cost of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. A direct loan shall bear interest at an annual rate either (1) equivalent to the cost of borrowing to the Department of the Treasury for obligations of comparable maturity or (2) 4 percent. A guaranteed loan shall bear interest at an annual rate equivalent to the current applicable market rate for a loan of comparable maturity. Further information may be found at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/farm-bill-broadband-loans-loan-guarantees

General Program Requirements

To be eligible for a broadband loan, an applicant may be either a nonprofit or for-profit organization, and must take one of the following forms: (1) Corporation; (2) Limited liability company (LLC); (3) Cooperative or mutual organization; (4) Indian tribe or tribal organization as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b; or (5) State or local government, including any agency, subdivision, or instrumentality thereof.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

The program opens under funding windows established under a NOFA/NOSA process annually. Applicants must: (1) Submit a loan application which meets the requirements set forth the regulation; (2) Agree to complete the build-out of the broadband system described in the loan application within three years from the day the applicant is notified that loan funds are available. The loan application must demonstrate that all proposed construction be completed within this three year period with the exception of Customer Premise Equipment (CPE). CPE can be funded throughout the forecast period; (3) Demonstrate an ability to furnish, improve, or extend broadband facilities to provide service at the broadband lending speed in rural areas; (4) Demonstrate an equity position equal to at least 10 percent of the amount of the loan requested in the application; and (5) Provide additional security if it is necessary to ensure financial feasibility as determined by the Administrator.

An eligible entity that provides telecommunications or broadband service to at least 20 percent of the households in the United States may not receive a total amount of loans or guarantees for a fiscal year in excess of 15 percent of the funds authorized and appropriated for that fiscal year.

Program Contact Information

Shawn Arner
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Loan Origination and Approval Division
shawn.arner@wdc.usda.gov
202-720-0800

Additional Information

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number10.886
Current Method of Tribal EligibilityNo Set-aside; Tribes Eligible with Other Entities
Can the funding from the program be renewedNo
Funding TypeDiscretionary
Entities Eligible for Grant AssistanceFederally Recognized Tribes and Tribal Organizations, Non-Tribal Entities
Matching Funds RequiredNo
Number of People Served by this Program (Approximate)100,000 per year
Length of ProgramLoan Terms are limited to the expected composite economic life of the assets to be financed plus 3 years. The build-out must be complete within three years from the day the Agency notifies the applicant that loan funds are available.
Recurring Base Funding for TribesNo
Do Tribes compete with other entities for funding from the program?States, U.S. Territories, U.S. local governments, Private for-profit entities, Private non-profit entities, Other non-tribal/non-native entities
Tribes Funded by this ProgramVaries by year.

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