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Keys to Success

Success is creating an eligible project that proposes to serve as many rural customers as possible and submitting a complete application to USDA by the deadline. Follow the rules that are detailed in the Federal Register Funding Opportunity Announcement (PDF, 95 KB). These steps are a guide:

  1. Review the rules of the ReConnect Rural Broadband Program to determine your project's geographic eligibility – use the Mapping Tool to find the area you’re proposing to serve with broadband speeds of 25/3 Megabits per second (Mbps), or faster.
  2. Decide which one of the three funding categories (see About Funding) your company, cooperative, or other type of eligible organization (see Who May Apply) would like to apply for.
  3. Begin designing your project, including the following:
    • Technical specifications and engineering plans
    • Business plans with financial analysis and market studies for viability of broadband service in your area that currently lacks sufficient broadband service at 10/1 Mbps speeds
    • Consider adjusting the geographic boundaries of your proposed service area, to provide broadband service to more customers, such as farms, ranches, and other businesses as well as schools, healthcare sites, and public safety facilities – use the Mapping Tool to locate those in your area. Remember that USDA will score projects that apply for the 100% Grant funding category and the 50% Loan/50% Grant funding category, based on the number of these customers your project serves.
  4. Contact USDA for assistance or find partners in the telecommunications services industry who might be interested in participating in your project.
  5. Thoroughly review the Federal Register notice for the types of documents that will be required to be submitted with your application, and begin collecting those documents so they’re handy when USDA opens the online application portal in March.
  6. Submit your complete application to USDA by the deadline:
    • April 29 for the 100% Grant funding category
    • May 29 for the 50% Loan/50% Grant funding category
    • June 28 for the 100% Loan funding category