Created in support of the ReConnect Program, the eligibility area map is designed to assist potential applicants in determining service area eligibility across the United States.
The map includes four categories of data that indicate potential eligibility of rural areas:
- CAF II - Auction 903 Winners. ReConnect funds cannot be used to build-out service areas that fall within the census block group(s) of CAF II Auction 903 recipients, unless the entity requesting additional support, is the CAF II recipient in that area. CAF II winners seeking additional funding to buildout its awarded census block groups, may only apply for funds under the 100% Loan offering.
- Non-Rural Areas. This layer identifies all areas that are considered non-rural under the ReConnect Program; and therefore, ineligible for funding. A non-rural area is any city, town, or incorporated area that has a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants or an urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants.
- Pending Applications. All service areas that are included as part of a Farm Bill Broadband or Infrastructure loan application will appear as part of the Pending Applications layer once the application is submitted to the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for consideration. Any area that is in a 'Pending' status will be protected if subsequent applications are submitted to RUS requesting funding for the same area. All submitted Farm Bill Broadband, Infrastructure and ReConnect Program applications will receive a date and timestamp at the time of submission.
- Protected Broadband Borrower Service Areas. All RUS Broadband Borrower's service areas that are protected under the ReConnect Program make up the Protected Broadband Borrower Service Area layer. Providers that serve areas supported by a previous RUS broadband loan or agreement are the only entities eligible to apply for ReConnect funds to serve those areas with upgraded service, but only if current service speeds are less than 10/1 mbps at households in the area.
A Broadband Borrower means any entity that has received a Telecommunications Infrastructure loan, Farm Bill Broadband loan, Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) loan, or BIP loan/grant combination award any time after the beginning of Fiscal Year 2000. If a Broadband Borrower's service area is eligible for protection under the ReConnect Program, the company's entire service territory is protected, not only the service area(s) included in the approved loan application. The service areas of Community Connect grant recipients still under build-out are also protected under this layer. Please note, a BIP grant recipient's service territory is not protected under this program.
The mapping tool also includes evaluation criteria that will be used to auto-generate project scores under the Evaluation Criteria section for 50% loan / 50% grant and 100% grant application requests. Additional information on how applicants' proposed funded service areas will receive a score generated by the map can be found in Evaluation Criteria.
The datasets that make up the Eligibility Area Map, are available to download under the Forms and Resources page, Eligible Area Map Datasets.
Eligibility Area Map
Please note, not all layers will appear on the map until you zoom to a certain level. The CAF II - Auction 903 and Tribal Lands layers become visible if zoom is set to: States / Provinces (1:6,000,000). Additional Evaluation Criteria layers, such as Critical Community Facilities, Educational Facilities and Healthcare Centers become visible if zoom is set to: City (1:80,000).