$20 million set aside for rural broadband



On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $20 million to deliver broadband technical assistance resources for rural communities in Nevada, and to support the development and expansion of broadband cooperatives.

Earlier this month, the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology conducted an outreach tour to find out about broadband starting in Gardnerville.

“Our goal is for every Nevadan to have access to a high-speed internet connection that is affordable, reliable and scalable,” said Gov. Joe Lombardo. “As we develop our plans, we want to ensure that all communities have a chance to add their voice.”

The tour visited every county in Nevada and the office is producing an asset map of existing digital equity programs and potential partners for future digital equity programs.

The Department of Agriculture is offering the funding under the new Broadband Technical Assistance Program. The program supports technical assistance projects such as conducting feasibility studies, completing network designs, and developing broadband financial assistance applications. Funding is also available to help organizations access federal resources, and to conduct data collection and reporting.

“Access to high-speed internet is an essential utility, particularly for Nevada’s rural communities where they rely on it for business, educational, and healthcare opportunities,” said Rural Development Nevada State Director Lucas Ingvoldstad. “USDA is committed to growing the rural economy in Nevada and across the nation. To do this, we’re partnering with small towns and organizations to increase access to this critical service.”

This initiative is made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $65 billion to expand access and lower costs of high-speed internet. This initiative has been designed to work in conjunction with other high-speed internet programs to connect every community in America with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.

USDA encourages applicants to consider projects that will advance the following key priorities:

• Assisting rural communities recover economically through more and better market opportunities and through improved infrastructure;

• Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to USDA Rural Development programs and benefits from RD funded projects; and

• Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities.

Applicants must choose one of the following funding categories:

• Technical Assistance Providers: Applicants must propose to deliver broadband technical assistance that will benefit rural communities. Up to $7.5 million is available. The minimum award is $50,000. The maximum is $1 million.

• Technical Assistance Recipients: Applicants must be the recipients of the broadband technical assistance. Up to $7.5 million is available. The minimum award is $50,000. The maximum is $250,000.

• Projects Supporting Cooperatives: Applicants must propose projects that support the establishment or growth of broadband cooperatives that will benefit rural communities. Up to $5 million is available. The minimum award is $50,000. The maximum is $1 million.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/nv.


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