The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that beginning on April 23, 2019, the agency will begin accepting applications for its Rural E-Connectivity Loan and Grant Pilot Program (Reconnect Program). In March 2018, Congress passed its Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which among other things, earmarked $600 million in funding for a Rural Utilities Service (RUS) distance learning program, and other telemedicine and rural broadband initiatives. On December 13, 2018, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the rules of the ReConnect Program, including how loans and grants will be awarded to help build infrastructure in rural America. As part of the ReConnect Program, USDA is making available up to $200 million in grants, $200 million in loan and grant combinations, and $200 million in low-interest loans. The application deadline for grants is Friday, May 31, 2019. The application deadline for loan/grant combinations is Friday, June 21, 2019. The application deadline for low-interest loans is Friday, July 12, 2019. Entities eligible for the ReConnect Program include telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, Internet service providers, and municipalities.