Advocacy

USDA announces funding opportunity to expand rural broadband access through cooperatives

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Applications for the‚ÄĮBroadband Technical Assistance (BTA) program are due August 20.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Office of Rural Development (RD) is currently accepting applications for the‚ÄĮBroadband Technical Assistance (BTA) program, a program made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

USDA will invest $25 million through the BTA program to help cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, local organizations and Tribes expand affordable, high-speed internet projects in rural communities. Eligible applicants, including cooperatives across sectors, must SUBMIT AN APPLICATION NO LATER THAN 11:59 P.M. EASTERN TIME ON AUGUST 20, 2024. 

Under this second round of funding for the BTA program, applicants may apply for one of two funding categories:

  • Technical Assistance Providers category Applicants must propose to deliver broadband technical assistance that will benefit rural communities. Up to $15 million is available. Awards range between $100,000 and $1 million.
  • Technical Assistance Recipients category Applicants must be the recipients of the broadband technical assistance. Up to $10 million is available. Awards range between $50,000 and $500,000.

The BTA program provides a range of eligible uses for cooperatives to promote the expansion of broadband services into rural areas. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Help entities in identify and plan to deliver broadband service to eligible rural areas;
  • Identify public and private resources to finance broadband facilities;
  • Prepare feasibility studies, financial forecasts, market surveys, environmental studies and technical design information to support broadband services;
  • Prepare reports and surveys necessary to support the need for broadband services, the price range and to request financial assistance;
  • Analyze and improve operations related to broadband facilities management (i.e., implementing automation, adopting new software, conducting training, etc.) and improvement.

To see the full list of eligible entities and uses, view the BTA program homepage. To access the BTA application, view this Funding Opportunity. For additional information on for the Broadband Technical Assistance Program, view this FAQ page, Federal Register Notice, or follow the contact USDA link selecting ‚ÄúBroadband Technical Assistance‚ÄĚ as the subject.¬†

If you are interested in learning more about NCBA CLUSA‚Äôs Advocacy work, please email advocacy@ncba.coop.‚ÄĮ‚ÄĮ¬†

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