RUS Opens Window for ReConnect Program’s Third Round of Funding

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (“RUS”) has recently announced that it is accepting applications for the third round of funding under the ReConnect Program.  Through this program, RUS provides funding through loans, grants, and loan-grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in underserved rural areas. The funds can be used for construction or improvement costs, acquisition of facilitates and equipment for broadband services. Applications will be accepted until February 22, 2022.
Eligible applicants include:
  • Cooperative or mutual associations;
  • Corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships;
  • States, local governments, or agency, subdivision, instrumentality, or political subdivision thereof;
  • A territory or possession of the U.S; or
  • An Indian tribe.
Eligible areas must meet the following criteria:
  • Must be completely contained within a rural area (defined as areas not located in a city, town, or incorporated area with a population greater than 20,000, or an urbanized area adjacent to a city or town with a population greater than 50,000) or composed of multiple rural areas; and
  • Ninety percent of the households in the area must lack “sufficient access” to broadband service. Sufficient access to broadband is defined as 100 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream.
The program will offer funding in areas that already receive support from Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) programs, including the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, so long as the areas are still without “sufficient access” to broadband. If an applicant is already receiving federal funding through an FCC program, they should be prepared to explain how the ReConnect funding is not duplicative, but rather would complement existing funding.
Below details each type of loan, grant or combination as each has different funding amounts and award amounts available.
Type of Funding Available
Total Amount of Funding and Maximum Award Amount
100 Percent Loan
  • $200,000,000 in total funds
  • $50,000,000 maximum per project
50-50 Percent Loan-Grant Combination
  • $250,000,000 in total funds
  • $25,000,000 maximum per project
100 Percent Grant
  • $350,000,000 in total funds
  • $25,000,000 maximum per project
  • $35,000,000 maximum if certain guidelines met
100 Percent Grant for Tribal Governments and Socially Vulnerable Communities
  • $350,000,000 in total funds
  • $25,000,000 maximum per project
  • $35,000,000 maximum if certain guidelines met
If you need assistance navigating this program or applying for funds, please contact Clare Andonov at [email protected], or Hilary Rosenthal at [email protected].