Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees
To assure that people in eligible rural communities have access to broadband service comparable in reliability and quality to the rest of the Nation.
General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Rural Utilities Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
E - Direct Loans; F - Guaranteed/Insured Loans
Fiscal Year 2016
$47,856,676 available should be awarded in FY16 pending future approvals of loan applications. Two loans awarded for $19,439,000Fiscal Year 2017
$27,000,000 available should be awarded in FY17 pending future approvals of loan applicationsFiscal Year 2018
Loan was awarded for $19.8 million
Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended, Title VI; 7 U.S.C. 950bb
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
(a) 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. (b) To be eligible for a broadband loan, the applicant 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 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.
Residents and businesses of eligible rural areas.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact statement is required for this listing. An environmental impact assessment is not required for this listing. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372. Applicants must supply environmental impact information to determine whether an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement will be required. Additional information regarding environmental requirements can be found in 7 C.F.R. Part 1794.
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. New regulations will implement the changes authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. For further information on submitting an application, please contact RUS and visit our website: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/farm-bill-broadband-loans-loan-guarantees
The RUS Administrator makes the final decision on approval of the loan or loan guarantee. There must be a finding that the project is economically feasible, capable of delivering service at the Broadband Lending Speed, and serves the purposes of the program. Borrowers and member of Congress are notified directly of the approval of a loan or loan guarantee.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
More than 180 days. Normal processing time is four to five months.
How are proposals selected?
How may assistance be used?
Funds can be used for the costs of the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment for the provision of broadband service in rural areas. Additional restrictions may apply to projects depending on the availability of existing broadband service. 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.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance monitoring is completed by the RUS National and Field offices.
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.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.
Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Unless requested to be shorter by the applicant, 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 the Agency based upon acceptable depreciation rates. The borrower must begin construction within six months from the date the Agency notifies the applicant that loan funds are available. . If the borrower fails to begin construction, the Agency may cancel the loan. The build-out must be complete within three years from the day the Agency notifies the applicant that loan funds are available. Build-out is considered complete when the network design has been fully implemented, the service operations and management systems infrastructure is operational, and the borrower is ready to support the activation and commissioning of individual customers to the new system. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: New regulations will implement the changes authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Once the loan is closed and funds are made available, the borrower submits advance request on an as needed and funds are advanced over a five year period.
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, DC 20250 US
(Direct Loans) FY 18$19,884,000.00; FY 19 est $23,700,000.00; FY 20 est $23,700,000.00; - Cost of Money Loans(Direct Loans) FY 18$0.00; FY 19 est $0.00; FY 20 est $0.00; - Four (4) Percent Loans(Guaranteed/Insured Loans) FY 18$0.00; FY 19 est $0.00; FY 20 est $0.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
In FY18 1 Loan was approved for $19.8 Million
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
See the Final Rule published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2016. 81 FR 37121 (111)
Examples of Funded Projects