broadbandThe U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $152 million in 19 rural broadband projects across 14 states. The USDA rural broadband funding projects are in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“Deploying high-speed broadband internet connectivity, or ‘e-Connectivity,’ in rural America expands access to essential health, educational, social and business opportunities,” Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy said in a press release. “President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue are committed to fully utilizing all resources Congress provides for building and modernizing this critical infrastructure in rural America, because we believe that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

The press release offered examples of the projects:

  • Logan Telephone Cooperative Inc. will get a $34.4 million Telecommunications Program loan to upgrade a FTTH system in Butler, Logan and Muhlenberg counties in southwestern Kentucky.
  • In Morton County, N.D., USDA is partnering with BEK Communications Cooperative to provide an $844,000 Community Connect Program grant. The 49-mile Fiber-to-the-Home network will bring high-speed broadband to 125 underserved households.
  • In southwest Virginia, iGo Technology Inc. will get a $3 million Community Connect grant to bring enhanced broadband opportunities to 820 homes and businesses. The Bee Community Center, in the town of Bee in Dickenson County, will get free broadband for two years.

These rural broadband investments flow from a few USDA rural development programs, including the Community Connect Grant Program, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.

Additional rural broadband funding from a different USDA program, the ReConnect Pilot Program, should be announced soon. That program will allocate $600 million for rural broadband projects. USDA has received 53 applications from rural areas across 33 states, representing 1,099 farms and 859 businesses.

A full list of these most recent funded projects may be found here.

Image courtesy of flickr user Sean MacEntee.

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4 thoughts on “USDA Targets 14 States with $152 Million in Rural Broadband Funding

  1. Wow, the "benefit" to Oklahoma is the construction of an 11-mile fiber optic line that will serve 108 customers for a total of $850,000. Good for them, but this is hardly earth-shattering news because of the limited scope of the project. Of course, big surprise, the largest share of all the funds, $39 million out of the total $152 million, goes to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's home state of Kentucky.

    1. I'm confused. Liberals tend to gravitate to metro areas already served by LTE, Wifi, and high speed connections.

      Of course rural areas tend to lean right….

  2. They all go to republican districts and no details offered on how the process was vetted. All fiber to the premise projects from what I see, which is overkill and wasteful in my opinion given the scope of the problem.

  3. The upgrade to the rural districts started back in 1935 under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a democrat, in part with the" New Deal" with the funding of the REA (Rural Electrification Authority). Read Robert Caro's book on Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) and what his family life was like before electricity in the rural environment. The next phase of this was development of the rural telephone market and has expanded to the Connect America Fund (and the others mentioned above). It is putting people in the rural areas on an equal footing with people in the cities. It is good for them and good for America. I am a city boy and welcome the availability of technology in the rural areas of our country. Republicans and democrats should share
    this success.

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