USDA extends ReConnect Pilot Program application deadline

U.S. & World

(WRBL) – The United States Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline for ReConnect Pilot Program applications to April 15, 2020 amid the coronavirus crisis.

Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand made the announcement Monday. The initial deadline was March 31, 2020.

“In light of the COVID-19 National Emergency, USDA is extending the application deadline for round two of ReConnect Pilot Program funding to give rural businesses, cooperatives, and communities extra time to apply for this critical assistance that will help bring high-speed broadband connectivity to rural communities,” Brand said.

The ReConnect Pilot Program provides loans and grants to help with broadband infrastructure in rural America in areas with insufficient internet service.

In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America.

In December 2019, Agriculture Secretary Perdue announced USDA will be making available an additional $550 million in ReConnect funding in 2020. USDA will make available up to $200 million for grants, up to $200 million for 50/50 grant/loan combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans.

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