Rural Utilities Service Outlines Its 'Community Connect' Rules

Broadband Stimulus, NTIA, Weekly Report May 4th, 2009

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From Weekly Report

DALLAS, May 4, 2009 – Regulations have not yet been issued regarding the federal government’s program to invest $7.2 billion in broadband networks, but experts inside and outside of government took their best shot at explaining the program’s contours at the Broadband Properties conference here.

The conference brought together many of the network builders likely to benefit from such investments. The experts addressed the core broadband program being jointly administered by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service.

Speaking at the conference, Ken Kuchno, director of the Broadband Division of RUS, outlined the elecommunications
programs within USDA’s current budget: $690 million for its traditional loan program focused on rural carriers; $400 million for its broadband loan program, which was initiated as part of the 2002 Farm Bill; and $13 million under its so-called Community Connect program. That Community Connect window closes June 19, and the rules were announced next week.

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