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, 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.
General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: Rural Utilities Service
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005; Title III: Rural Development Programs; Rural Utilities Service; Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program; Public Law 108-447.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
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.
The people living in rural areas and to improve rural opportunities through the availability of access to high speed broadband networks.
No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact assessment is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Submit an application in accordance with 7 CFR 1739 and its accompanying application guide.
Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to applicants receiving the highest number of points.
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Applications are approved each fiscal year for which funding is made available.
How are proposals selected?
How may assistance be used?
Grants will be made available, on a competitive basis, for the deployment of broadband services to critical community facilities, rural residents, and rural businesses and for the operation of a community center which would provide free access to broadband services to community residents for at least two years. . See 7 CFR Part 1739 for details. Funds can only be used for purposes specifically authorized in the regulation, per 7 CFR 1739.12. Funds are authorized for this program in the Appropriations Bill for the Department of Agriculture for each fiscal year.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Program reports are not applicable. Cash reports are not applicable. Progress reports are not applicable. The disbursal of funds is made on the basis of invoices for eligible purposes. To this extent, RUS is aware of all expenditures for which reimbursement is sought. Projects are also periodically audited by field accounting staff. Project performance activity reports are required annually.
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements, Subpart F, Audit Requirements (Revised, December 26, 2013) nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Subpart F. Entities which do not meet the criteria for applicability in 2 CFR 200 will have an audit prepared in accordance with 7 CFR 1773, Policy on Audits of RUS Borrowers and Grantees.
Grantee will provide evidence that funds are expended for approved purposes.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching Requirements: Percent: 15.%. The grant applicant must contribute a matching contribution in the form of cash which is at least 15 percent of the grant amount requested and must be in cash.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Applicants generally have three years to spend funds. Extensions may be granted. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Funds may be advanced monthly or as needed to reimburse disbursements for approved grant purposes.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., STOP 1590, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Phone: (202) 720-9564.
(Project Grants) FY 14 $13,685,608; FY 15 est $14,000,000; and FY 16 est $14,000,000
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
The Agency will publish, annually in the Federal Register, a Notice of Funds Availability that sets forth the maximum and minimum funding for each grant. The size of grants varies. In FY 2014, grants ranged from $470,000 to $3,000,000 and averaged $1,710,701.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
7 CFR 1739: Broadband Grant Program, Subpart A - Community Connect Grant Program
Examples of Funded Projects