Rural Telephone Loans and Loan Guarantees


To assure that people in eligible rural areas have access to telecommunications services comparable in reliability and quality to the rest of the Nation.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Rural Utilities Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
E - Direct Loans; F - Guaranteed/Insured Loans
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 Fiscal year 2016: Awarded 10 loans to fund deployment of advanced telecommunications facilities serving over 71,000 customers (As of May, 2016) Fiscal year 2016: Awarded 14 loans to fund deployment of advanced telecommunications facilities serving over 77,000 customers
Fiscal Year 2017 Fiscal year 2017: Awarded 21 loans to fund deployment of advanced telecommunications facilities serving over 147,000 customers
Fiscal Year 2018 Awarded 13 loans to fund the deployment of advanced telecommunications services to over 39,000 customers.
Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended, Titles II and III, 7 U.S.C. 921, 922-924, and 930-940.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Telephone companies or cooperatives, nonprofit associations, limited dividend associations, mutual associations or public bodies including those located in the U.S. Territories and countries included in the Compact of Free Association Act of 1985, providing or proposing to provide telecommunications service to meet the needs of rural areas.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Residents and businesses of eligible rural areas.
Not applicable.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
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 documentation to determine if an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement will be required. Environmental impact information may be required for this program.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. The completed loan application consists of four parts: an RUS Form 490; Application for Telephone Loan or Loan Guarantee; a market survey called Area Coverage Survey (ACS); the plan and associated costs for the proposed construction called the Loan Design (LD); and other various supplementary information specified in 7 CFR 1737.22. Detailed information on applying for an RUS telephone loan or loan guarantee is in 7 CFR Part 1737, available from RUS upon request.
Award Procedure
The RUS Administrator, Assistant Administrator, or Deputy Assistant Administrator makes the final decision on approval of the loan or loan guarantee upon a finding that it is economically feasible and serves the purposes of the Rural Electrification Act. Borrowers and Members of Congress are notified of the approval of a loan or loan guarantee directly, and the public is notified through normal media communications.
Not applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
More than 180 days. Application are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Normal loan processing time is from 6 to 9 months.
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Applications must be found to be financially and technically feasible and meet all of the eligibility requirements.
How may assistance be used?
This program provides long-term direct and guaranteed loans to qualified organizations for the purpose of financing the improvement, expansion, construction, acquisition, and operation of telephone lines, facilities, or systems to furnish and improve Telecommunications, 911 and Emergency Communications services in rural areas. "Rural area" is defined as any area of the United States, its territories and insular possessions (including any areas within the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau) not included within the boundaries of any incorporated or unincorporated city, village, or borough having a population exceeding 5,000 inhabitants (20,000 for 911 and emergency communications purposes). The population figure is obtained from the Bureau of Census. For purposes of the "rural area" definition, the character of an area is determined at the time the initial loan for the system is made.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Performance monitoring is conducted on site by the Agency's general field representatives as well as by financial and technical experts located in the National Office.
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.
RUS borrowers keep the records prescribed for telecommunication companies by the RUS uniform system of accounts, and by sound business practices. The RUS uniform system of accounts is comprised of 47 CFR Part 32 supplemented by 7 CFR Part 1770.
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
Direct and guaranteed loans can be made not to exceed the composite economic life of facilities and equipment plus three years (average loan maturity is 18 yrs). See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Provision is normally made for advances to be completed within 5 years. Advances of funds are requested by the borrower and are made subject to requirements. Provision is normally made for advances to be completed within 5 years. Advances of funds are requested by the borrower and are made subject to requirements.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service
Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW.,STOP 1590, Room 5151
Washington, DC 20250 US
Phone: (202) 720-9554
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Direct Loans) FY 18$99,006,000.00; FY 19 est $345,000,000.00; FY 20 est $345,000,000.00; - Cost of Money/Treasury Rate Loans(Direct Loans) FY 18$0.00; FY 19 est $0.00; FY 20 est $0.00; - Hardship Loans(Guaranteed/Insured Loans) FY 18$62,932,000.00; FY 19 est $100,000,000.00; FY 20 est $100,000,000.00; - FFB Treasury Loans
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Direct Loans - $2,183,000 to $13,659,000 Avg. $7,921,000 Guaranteed Loans - $2,183,000 to $20,360,000 Avg. $11,271,500
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
7 CFR-XVII. RUS publishes and issues upon request technical operations manuals and bulletins covering financing, construction, operation and maintenance of rural telephone systems. An application guide and other supporting schedules are available at Reference
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


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