The Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline for ReConnect Pilot Program applications to April 15. 

Deputy undersecretary for Rural Development Bette Brand announced the extension Monday, saying the move is “in light of the COVID-19 National Emergency.” 

The extension allows rural businesses, cooperatives, and communities extra time to apply for assistance that will help bring high-speed broadband connectivity to rural communities. 

USDA received 146 applications between May 31, 2019, and July 12, 2019, requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three ReConnect Program funding products, 100 percent loan, 100 percent grant, and loan-grant combinations. 

USDA is reviewing applications and announcing approved projects on a rolling basis. 

Additional investments in all three categories will be made in the coming weeks. 

These grants, loans and combination funds enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service.