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You are here: Eligibility /Rural Satellite Program / Program Rules
   Satellite Program Rules

The BIP Satellite Program provides incentives for satellite broadband connections to remote users where other terrestrial broadband services are not available. The BIP Satellite Program is a new RUS program authorized under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). Four satellite broadband companies received awards under the USDA Satellite Grant Program. Eligible installations must not be located in an area where USDA has provided grant or loan funding to another entity to build-out broadband service, and must be located within a rural area. Eligible installations must therefore be outside of Non-Rural areas, BIP areas, Farm Bill Communities, and Traditional Telecom Communities. Eligible installation locations must also lack access to existing terrestrial broadband service. Note that the Eligibility lookup tool cannot indicate whether or not an installation location has access to existing terrestrial broadband service.

Non-Rural areas

These are areas that lie outside non-rural areas as defined by the USDA's Satellite Grant Program Request for Proposals (RFP), published in the Federal Register on May 7, 2010. The term "rural area" means any area, as confirmed by the latest decennial census of the Bureau of Census, which is not located:

- within a city, town, or incorporated area that has a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants; or
- an urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants

BIP areas

Areas that fall under the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) as defined by USDA are called BIP areas. BIP is administered by the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and was established in response to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. These areas have received funding under BIP to provide broadband services to end users within the service area.

Farm Bill Communities

Areas that fall under the Farm Bill Communities as defined by USDA are called Farm Bill Communities. The Farm Bill Broadband Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (Farm Bill Program) is designed to provide loans for funding, on a technology neutral basis, for the costs of construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service to eligible rural communities.

For more information on the communities that fall under the Farm Bill Program, please visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_farmbill.html

Traditional Telecom Communities

Areas that fall under the Traditional Telecom Communities Act as defined by USDA are called Traditional Telecom Communities. These are communities covered by the Traditional Telecommunications Program, which is based on the Rural Electrification Act Title II.

Satellite Broadband Companies

Four companies received awards under the USDA Satellite Grant Program. The following is a list of companies and the States in which they may provide discounted satellite service:

  1. Hughes Network Systems, LLC - All 50 States
  2. Wildblue Communications, Inc. - AR, AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, LA, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR and SD
  3. EchoStar Corporation - AL, CT, DE, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT and WV
  4. Spacenet, Inc. - AK and HI


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