Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan Guarantees Program

Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service


This program provides financing for the construction, maintenance, improvement and expansion of telephone service and broadband in rural areas. Loans and Loan Guarantees are available.

-Cost-of-Money Loans are direct loans from USDA Rural Utilities Service
-Loan Guarantees of up to 80% allow private lenders, including the Federal Financing Bank (FFB), to extend credit to qualified borrowers in rural areas
-Hardship Loans may be used, at the sole discretion of USDA Rural Utilities Service, to assist applicants in meeting financial feasibility requirements for applications to serve underserved areas

Borrowers must have legal authority to provide, construct, operate and maintain the proposed facilities or services. All facilities financed with the aid of federal dollars must be used for a public purpose. Funded projects may not duplicate similar services available in the same area. Partnerships with other federal, state, local, private and non-profit entities are encouraged

Eligible Recipients:

For-Profit Business; Internet Service Provider; Local Government; Non-Profit Organization

Eligible Recipients Detail:

State and Local Governments; Tribal Entities; ISPs; Non-Profit Organizations; Electric Utilities/Cooperatives; For-profit businesses (corporations and limited liability companies only)

Eligible Purpose:

Last Mile Infrastructure; Middle Mile Infrastructure; Backbone Infrastructure

Eligible Purpose Detail:

Finance broadband capable telecommunications service: improvements; expansions; construction; acquisitions; refinancing

Excluded Programs:

Communities where USDA Rural Utilities Service has previously provided funding for construction of broadband infrastructure may not be eligible.

Other Eligibility Criteria:

Rural areas and towns with a population of 5,000 or less; Areas without telecommunications facilities or areas where the applicant is the recognized telecommunications provider are eligible; Check with USDA - Rural Development

Funding Match/Terms:

Loan Terms vary by loan type:

-Cost-of-money loans: fixed rate at current U.S. Treasury rates depending on loan maturity at time of each advance
-Loan Guarantees: fixed rate primarily from the Federal Financing Bank (FFB). Interest rates (Treasury rate plus 1/8%) vary depending on call options and the interim maturity rate selected at each advance, which may be as short as 90 days, with auto-rollover. Current rates available online, scroll down to “Treasury Constant Maturities” add 0.125% for FFB rate
-Hardship loans: fixed interest rate of 5% for up to 20 years and requires special qualifications

Note/Additional Resources: