“Ensuring that all Americans have access to reliable broadband is a key part of the Obama Administration’s effort to help create jobs and expand economic opportunities in rural areas,” Vilsack said. “These grants not only are critical for businesses and residents, they also help first responders, educators and health care professionals by providing them with access to broadband service.”
Community Connect grants are made available to the most rural, unserved and economically challenged areas. The funds are used to build broadband infrastructure. Awardees are also required to establish community centers that offer free public access to broadband.
In 2008, two Nevada applicants, the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe and the Arizona Nevada Tower Corporation on behalf of the Walker Lake Volunteer Fire Department and Walker River Paiute Tribe, received Community Connect funding. The Fallon Tribe’s grant for $432,000 was used to provide wireless broadband services to the Fallon Indian Reservation and Colony, and to build a computer lab in the tribe’s community center. The Arizona Nevada Tower Corporation’s $993,704 grant was used to provide broadband access in the Walker Lake area and to install a computer center at the Walker Lake Volunteer Fire Department.
Information on available funding and application requirements are published on page 26241 of the May 3 Federal Register. More information on Community Connect Grants, including the application guide, can be viewed on the USDA Rural Development Community Connect website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html.