Prepared to Assist Companies with Round Two Applications Due March 16

JSI congratulates the rural companies it helped to apply and land more than $116.2 million in grants and loans so far in the first round of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) ReConnect Pilot Program. The program distributes funds to build broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities throughout rural America. Of the companies JSI worked with in round one, more than 60% of them were successful. USDA began naming the ReConnect first round winners last fall and continues to publicize new winners, but several JSI clients’ awards have not yet been formally announced.

So far, seven of our clients’ first round awards have been announced:

Star Telephone Membership Corporation will use its $23.7 million grant to build over 535 miles fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband facilities in North Carolina, which will pass 4,462 possible service locations consisting of farms, businesses, residential and critical community institutions.

Wabash Telephone Cooperative, Inc. in Illinois will use $12.8 million split 50/50 between a grant and a loan to deploy 298 miles of fiber-optic cable in unserved areas of Jefferson and Wayne counties. This investment is anticipated to reach 1,684 households, 31 farms, 29 businesses, nine educational facilities, two critical community facilities and one health care center.

Home Telephone Company will use its $8.1 million grant to deploy 96 miles of fiber-optic cable in unserved areas of Charleston and Berkeley counties in South Carolina. Home will provide matching funds to complete the project, which includes 3,780 households, 19 educational facilities, and eight critical community facilities spread out over 219 square miles.

Wilkes Telephone Membership Corporation Inc. will use a $48 million loan to construct a FTTP network throughout 1,847 square miles in nine Virginia counties. The service area is expected to reach 22,604 households, 19 educational facilities, eight critical community facilities and one health care center.

Green Hills Telephone Corporation in Missouri will use a $2.6 million grant to expand its FTTP network to rural areas in Caldwell and Livingston counties. This investment is expected to reach 20 pre-subscribed farms, 20 pre-subscribed businesses, 546 households, a fire protection district and two educational facilities.

Duo County Telephone Cooperative Corporation Inc. in Kentucky plans to use its $18.7 million grant to deploy a FTTP network in rural Adair, Cumberland and Russell counties. The funded service areas include almost 3,650 households spread over 45 square miles.

Thacker-Grigsby Telephone Company Inc. will use a $2.3 million grant to deploy a FTTP network in rural Breathitt County in east Kentucky. The funded service area includes 637 households spread over 109 square miles.

Looking Ahead to Round Two
The second round of the ReConnect program kicks off on Friday, January 31, with the opening of the application window. USDA will distribute $550 million in additional grants and loans during round two. Applications are due March 16, 2020.

JSI will once again assist companies compete for ReConnect funds. We can help with all aspects of project applications and planning, including mapping of potential funding areas, preparing the required financials, performing a competitive analysis of the potential areas, and shepherding clients through the full application process.

If your company is interested in applying for a ReConnect award or if you have any questions about the program, please contact Valerie Wimer or Cassandra Heyne at 301-459-7590 or Lans Chase at 770-569-2105. JSI also held a free webinar in December on ReConnect Round Two. If you missed it, you can request a copy of the recording by emailing Janee Devis.