The 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.