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|USDA/RUS||RIN: 0572-AC51||Publication ID: Fall 2020|
|Title: Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect Program)|
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: Economically Significant|
|RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda||Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage|
|Major: Yes||Unfunded Mandates: No|
|EO 13771 Designation: Other|
|CFR Citation: 7 CFR 1740|
|Legal Authority: Pub. L. 115-141|
|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|
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program
Department of Agriculture
Rural Utilities Service
1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250