Rural Communities

What funding is available for telemedicine projects?

The CARES Act includes $25 million for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program, administered by the Rural Utility Service. Funding goes toward equipment (e.g., video conferencing equipment, computers) that operates via telecommunications to rural users of telemedicine and distance learning. Broadband facilities (if owned by the applicant) are also eligible. Approved purposes can be found here.


What funding is available for high-speed internet expansion?

The CARES Act also includes $100 million for the ReConnect program, which offers loans and grants to build infrastructure and install equipment that provides high-speed internet service in rural America. The ReConnect program offers three products: 100% loans, 50% loan-50% grant combinations, and 100% grants. To be eligible, at least 90% of the households to be served by a project must be in a rural area without sufficient access to fixed broadband at a minimum speed of 10 Mbps/1 Mbps. Additional information about the ReConnect program can be found here.


Who is eligible to receive USDA guaranteed loans?

Through the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program, USDA backs loans offered by Federal or state-chartered banks, savings and loans, farm credit banks, and credit unions. Eligible entities include for-profit businesses, nonprofits, cooperatives, federally-recognized tribes and public bodies. To be eligible, entities must be located in a rural area, which is defined by USDA as having a population of less than 50,000 people. Business and Industry Program guaranteed loans are not available to golf courses, racetracks or gambling facilities, churches, fraternal organizations, or lending and insurance companies.