Publications and Resources

USDA Smart Utilities Program
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Rural Development offers entities an opportunity to use up to 10 percent of a loan, grant or loan guarantee to build, improve or acquire rural broadband facilities and equipment in areas not served by a minimum acceptable level of broadband service which is 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream for both mobile and fixed service. This final rule is authorized by Section 6210 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (The 2018 Farm Bill). See additional information in the Federal Register.

Conservation Technical Assistance Program
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service works with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to help them boost agricultural productivity and protect our natural resources. Landowners can apply to participate in programs that provide technical guidance and financial assistance that support conservation and that may include the use of technology equipment for connectivity and broadband.

U.S. Forest Service Special Use Permits
U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Forest Service (FS) receives thousands of individual and business applications for authorization for use yearly on FS land for such activities as water transmission, agriculture, outfitting and guiding, recreation, telecommunication, research, photography and video productions, and granting road and utility rights-of-ways. FS lands contribute to our Nation’s telecommunications needs by authorizing uses that provide critical services to rural communities.

DOE Announces Goal to Cut Solar Costs by More than Half by 2030
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
DOE announced a new target to cut the cost of solar energy by 60 percent within the next ten years and offers over $120 million in funding opportunities to lower costs, improve performance and speed the deployment of solar energy technologies. Learn more on the current and new funding streams.

The Digital Divide: What Is It, Where Is It, and Federal Assistance Programs
Congressional Research Service
This report on the Digital Divide in the United States was updated on March 9, 2021, and describes the availability of broadband by state and across urban, rural, and tribal areas.

Event Opportunities

Building a Resilient Community Using Distributed Energy Resources
April 7-8 | Virtual Workshop
U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office offers this opportunity for participants to learn how solar energy and distributed energy resources can contribute to resilient communities and to discuss key areas for future research and development.

Main Street Now: Renew Recharge Reimagine Conference
April 12-14 | Virtual Conference
Main Street America offers a three day conference filled with immersive online content and networking opportunities providing attendees the opportunity to reflect on how the events of the past year have changed our work and how we can rebuild stronger, more equitable Main Streets for the future. 

ReConnect Regulation Webinar
April 14 | Webinar
USDA Rural Development is hosting this webinar to help stakeholders learn more about the ReConnect Program and a final rule that USDA is seeking comments on to help expand broadband access in Rural America.

BroadbandUSA Webinar Series: NTIA Broadband Grant Programs
Various Dates | Webinar Series
National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) offers dedicated webinars covering their 3 new broadband grant programs: The Broadband Infrastructure Program, The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, and The Connecting Minority Communities Program. To learn a brief overview of each new program, view this previously recorded webinar on the NTIA YouTube channel. Transcripts and slides are available on BroadbandUSA website.

Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants Program

Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants Program

Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program

Rural Assembly Everywhere: The Road to Repair
April 20-21 | Virtual Conference
The Rural Assembly offers an opportunity for participants to connect and learn with rural experts, leaders and culture-bearers.