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USDA/RUS RIN: 0572-AC51 Publication ID: Spring 2020 
Title: ●Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect Program) 
Abstract:

On March 23, 2018, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (the 2018 Act) (Pub.L. 115-141) which established a broadband loan and grant pilot program, the ReConnect Program. The Act originally appropriated $600 million to be used on an expedited basis. On January 3, 2019, Congress appropriated (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019) an additional $550 million for the ReConnect Program. Once again, on December 20, 2019 Congress appropriated (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020) $555 million to continue the ReConnect Program.

The ReConnect Program provides funding in the form of loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas. One of the essential goals of the ReConnect Program is to expand broadband service to rural areas without sufficient access to broadband, defined as 10 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, including on farms to utilize precision agriculture.

Currently, RUS implements the ReConnect Program by issuing Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). RUS is proposing a new regulation to implement the ReConnect Program. This regulation is intended to codify existing policies through statutory language on eligibility requirements, types and terms of funding, program requirements and processing procedures.

 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Not subject to, not significant 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 1740   
Legal Authority: Pub. L. 115-141   
Legal Deadline:  None
Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
Final Rule  11/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Laurel Leverrier
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program
Department of Agriculture
Rural Utilities Service
1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250
Phone:202 720-3416
Email: laurel.leverrier@wdc.usda.gov